Initial Results from TexAQS 2000
On August 7-10, 2001, the first Science Team meeting for the TexAQS 2000 Study was held in Austin, TX. This multi-agency cooperative study involving over 250 scientists was one of the largest, most comprehensive studies of urban air quality that has ever been done in the US. It is estimated that over $20 million dollars was expended during the program directly and through “in kind” contributions. The objective of the study was to provide a better understanding of the emissions, and the basic chemical, physical and meteorological processes that determine ozone and fine particle distributions in eastern Texas, and to provide scientific understanding to policy makers to assist them in devising optimal ozone and particulate matter management strategies. This study was initiated and led by scientists from DOE’s Atmospheric Science Program. Initial results indicate that the high ozone concentrations frequently experienced in the Houston metropolitan area in late summer have a major industrial component. Clustered about the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay is the largest complex of refining and chemical manufacturing industry in the country. The study found that the combination of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbon emissions emanating from this complex of industries provided a mixture of chemicals that caused the rapid formation of very high concentrations of ozone which, depending on the prevailing meteorology, could exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards ozone standard anywhere in the Houston metropolitan area. The findings of this study will have a direct and immediate impact on the strategy that the State of Texas will utilize to control Houston’s ozone problem.