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Quantification of Anthropogenic and Natural Sources of Fine Particles in Houston, Texas Using Positive Matrix Factorization

Description: Texas, due to its geographical area, population, and economy is home to a variety of industrialized areas that have significant air quality problems. These urban areas are affected by elevated levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The primary objective of this study was to identify and quantify local and regional sources of air pollution affecting the city of Houston, Texas. Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) techniques were applied to observational datasets from two urban air quality monitoring sites in Houston from 2003 through 2008 in order to apportion sources of pollutants affecting the study region. Data from 68 species for Aldine and 91 for Deer Park were collected, evaluated, and revised to create concentration and uncertainty input files for the PMF2 and EPA PMF (PMF3) source apportionment models. A 11-sources solution for Aldine and 10-sources for Deer Park were identified as the optimal solutions with both models. The dominant contributors of fine particulate matter in these sites were found to be biomass burnings (2%-8.9%), secondary sulfates I (21.3%-7.6%) and II (38.8%-22.2%), crustal dust (8.9%-10.9%), industrial activities (10.9%-4.2%), traffic (23.1%-15.6%), secondary nitrates (4.4%-5.5%), fresh (1%-1.6%) and aged(5.1%-4.6%) sea salt and refineries (1.3%-0.6%), representing a strong case to confirm the high influence of local activities from the industrial area and the ship channel around the Houston channel. Additionally, potential source contribution function (PSCF) and conditional probability function (CPF) analyses were performed to identify local and regional source-rich areas affecting this urban airshed during the study period. Similarly, seasonal variations and patterns of the apportioned sources were also studied in detail.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Peña Sanchez, Carlos Alberto
Partner: UNT Libraries