Pollutant Transformation, Aircraft-Based Multi Parameters, Oil Sands Region
During August 2013, September 2013, April 2018, May 2018, and June 2018, a research aircraft was deployed in the oil sands region. The flight paths of the aircraft were designed to measure air pollutants in plumes around the immediate vicinity of the major oil sands surface mining facilities (2013 & 2018) and in-situ mining facilities (2018 only), and downwind of these sources, at various heights above the ground. These flight paths enabled measurements of how concentrations of air pollutants change with elevation in the atmosphere as well as with distance from pollution sources. The aircraft was equipped with a comprehensive suite of instruments to measure gases, particles and meteorological conditions.
It is not appropriate to directly compare these short-term data, measured by aircraft at various altitudes above the surface, with ambient air quality objectives for ground-level concentrations. The measurements were made to characterize and improve understanding of the chemical and physical processes that the oil sands pollutants undergo in the atmosphere. The measurements provide information to estimate the quantity and types of pollutants emitted from oil sands operations, to map out how far the pollutants are transported, and to understand how fast they are chemically converted to new forms of pollutants in the atmosphere. This information will be integrated into a comprehensive air quality model that will be used to predict current and future air pollutant levels and surface deposition amounts near to the oil sands and also far downwind. These environmental predictions help identify locations that may experience harmful effects today and/or in the future as the oil sands development expands and multiple pollutants accumulate in the environment.
To use these data, they must be linked to the latitude, longitude and altitude information provided in the Flight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – 2013 and 2018 data sets.
Flight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – 2013 and 2018
A number of different samples of atmospheric chemistry were collected in 2013 and 2018, along 52 flight paths, over parts of the oil sands region. This link provides the location and atmospheric conditions at the aircraft at the time of sample collection at 1-second time resolution.
Combining the location and atmospheric conditions information with chemistry data (below) will help to document the transformation, transport and fate of substances emitted from oil sands development activities.
Condensation Particle Number Concentration for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – 2013 and 2018
Particle number concentration measurements are organized by the time of sample collection so that they can be combined with Flight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – 2013 and 2018.
The particle number concentration is the number of particles up to 2.5 µm in diameter in a volume of air. There are no environmental guidelines for this parameter.
Particle number concentration data can be used with other datasets posted on the portal to quantify the emission, transformation, transport and deposition of substances emitted from oil sands activities.
Volatile Organic Compounds from the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – 2013 and 2018
Approximately 800 canisters were used to sample the airstream outside of the aircraft for ~20 seconds each (approximately 2 km in distance) during 22 flights flown between August 13 and September 7, 2013. Similarly, an additional 800 canisters were used during 30 flights flown between April 5th, and July 5th, 2018. Each canister sample was analyzed to determine the concentration of 100-154 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many of these organic chemicals are important precursors to formation of ozone and secondary particulate matter.
This VOC dataset can be used with other datasets posted on the portal to quantify the emission, transformation, transport and deposition of substances emitted from oil sands activities.
The VOC data are organized by the time of sample collection so that they can be combined with the Flight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – 2013 and 2018.
Supplemental Information Supporting Projects: Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Monitoring
- Publisher - Current Organization Name: Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Licence: Open Government Licence - Canada