• Investigation on the impacts of low-sulfur fuel used in residential heating and oil-fired power plants on PM₂.₅₋ concentrations and its composition in Fairbanks, Alaska

      Leelasakultum, Ketsiri; Mölders, Nicole; Bhatt, Uma; Collins, Richard (2013-08)
      The effects of using low-sulfur fuel for oil-heating and oil-burning facilities on the PM₂.₅-concentrations at breathing level in an Alaska city surrounded by vast forested areas were examined with the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with chemistry packages that were modified for the subarctic. Simulations were performed in forecast mode for a cold season using the National Emission Inventory 2008 and alternatively emissions that represent the use of low-sulfur fuel for oil-heating and oil-burning facilities while keeping the emissions of other sources the same as in the reference simulation. The simulations suggest that introducing low-sulfur fuel would decrease the monthly mean 24h-averaged PM₂.₅-concentrations over the city's PM₂.₅-nonattainment area by 4%, 9%, 8%, 6%, 5% and 7% in October, November, December, January, February and March, respectively. The quarterly mean relative response factors for PM₂.₅ of 0.96 indicate that with a design value of 44.7 µg/m³ introducing low-sulfur fuel would lead to a new design value of 42 .9µg/m³ that still exceeds the US National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 35µg/m³ . The magnitude of the relation between the relative response of sulfate and nitrate changes differs with temperature. The simulations suggest that in the city, PM₂.₅-concentrations would decrease more on days with low atmospheric boundary layer heights, low hydrometeor mixing ratio, low downward shortwave radiation and low temperatures. Furthermore, a literature review of other emission control measure studies is given, and recommendations for future studies are made based on the findings.