Identification of primary formaldehyde emissions in the greater Houston region : a Houston advanced research center project.
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The Greater Houston Area is currently an EPA designated non-attainment area for the secondary pollutant, ground level ozone. The underestimation of certain volatile organic compound precursors may be behind the discrepancy between modeled and observed ozone formation. Formaldehyde is one precursor pollutant that contributes both as a primary and a secondary pollutant, and is currently under-predicted by atmospheric models. To investigate undercounted sources of primary formaldehyde emissions, researchers at the BIAS, conducted airborne measurement of plumes from industrial sectors in the Houston Area with an instrumented Aztec. Time series measures of formaldehyde, ozone, and trace gases, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides, characterised the origins of the plumes. Observed correlation with primary emission trace gas carbon monoxide, suggested several instances of primary formaldehyde emissions from the measured plumes. Additional analyses included, instrument validation, and trajectories of air masses. Appropriate regulation of volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde to reduce ozone levels in Houston, are discussed.