Guo, Xuehui; Pan, Da; Daly, Ryan; Chen, Xi; Walker, John; Tao, Lei; McSpiritt, James; Zondlo, Mark
Gas-phase ammonia (NH3), emitted primarily from agriculture, contributes significantly to reactive nitrogen (Nr) deposition. Excess deposition of Nr to the environment causes acidification, eutrophication, and loss of biodiversity. The exchange of NH3 between land and atmosphere is bidirectional and can be highly heterogenous when underlying vegetation and soil characteristics differ. Direct measurements that assess the spatial heterogeneity of NH3 fluxes are lacking. To this end, we developed and deployed two fast-response, quantum cascade laser-based open-path NH3 sensors to quantify NH3 fluxes at a deciduous forest and an adjacent grassland separated by 700 m in North Carolina, United States from August to November, 2017. The sensors achieved 10 Hz precisions of 0.17 ppbv and 0.23 ppbv in the field, respectively. Eddy covariance calculations showed net deposition of NH3 (-7.3 ng NH3-N m−2 s−1) to the forest canopy and emission (3.2 ng NH3-N m−2 s−1) from the grassland. NH3 fluxes at both locations displayed diurnal patterns with absolute magnitudes largest midday and with smaller peaks in the afternoons. Concurrent biogeochemistry data showed over an order of magnitude higher NH3 emission potentials from green vegetation at the grassland compared to the forest, suggesting a possible explanation for the observed flux differences. Back trajectories originating from the site identified the upwind urban area as the main source region of NH3. Our work highlights the fact that adjacent natural ecosystems sharing the same airshed but different vegetation and biogeochemical conditions may differ remarkably in NH3 exchange. Such heterogeneities should be considered when upscaling point measurements, downscaling modeled fluxes, and evaluating Nr deposition for different natural land use types in the same landscape. Additional in-situ flux measurements accompanied by comprehensive biogeochemical and micrometeorological records over longer periods are needed to fully characterize the temporal variabilities and trends of NH3 fluxes and identify the underlying driving factors.
This dataset contains supplementary materials for Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 of Yiheng Tao's PhD dissertation (2022). The dissertation’s abstract is provided here:
Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) mitigates climate change by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from large point sources, or CO2 from the ambient air, and subsequently reusing the captured CO2 or injecting it into deep geological formations for long-term and secure storage. Almost all current decarbonization pathways include large-scale CCUS, on the order of a billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2 captured and stored each year globally starting in 2030, yet the actual deployment has lagged far behind (around 0.04 Gt CO2 was captured in 2021). In this dissertation, I contribute to several aspects of largescale deployment of CCUS by (1) developing and applying efficient numerical models to simulate geological CO2 storage and (2) identifying key policies to address the bottlenecks of overall CCUS deployment. This dissertation concerns the United States, China, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) region through research projects that are consistent with each location’s current development stage of CCUS.
Chapters 2 and 3 contain computational modeling studies. In Chapter 2, I develop a new series of vertical-equilibrium (VE) models in the dual-continuum modeling framework to simulate CO2 injection and migration in fractured geological formations. Those models are shown to be effective and efficient when properties of the formation allow for the VE assumption. In Chapter 3, I apply a VE model to simulate basin-scale CO2 injection in the Junggar Basin of Northwestern China. The results show that current regional emissions of more than 100 million tonnes of CO2 per year can be stored effectively, thereby confirming the great potential of the Junggar Basin for early CCUS deployment.
Chapters 4 and 5 contain policy analyses. In Chapter 4, I propose a dynamic system consisting of new CO2 pipelines and novel Allam-cycle power plants in the Central United States, and examine how government policies, including an extended Section 45Q tax credit, may improve the economic feasibility of this system. Lastly, in Chapter 5, I investigate and quantify CO2 emissions implications of power plant projects associated with the BRI. I also propose a “greenness ratio” to measure the level of environmental sustainability of BRI in the power sector.
Pan, Da; Gelfand, Ilya; Tao, Lei; Abraha, Michael; Sun, Kang; Guo, Xuehui; Chen, Jiquan; Robertson, G. Philip; Zondlo, Mark A.
This dataset contains spectroscopic simulations, experimental results for the 2202 cm-1 N2O absorption line, and N2O flux measurements shown in "A New Open-path Eddy Covariance Method for N2O and Other Trace Gases that Minimizes Temperature Corrections" by Da Pan, Ilya Gelfand, Lei Tao, Michael Abraha, Kang Sun, Xuehui Guo, Jiquan Chen, G. Philip Robertson, and Mark A. Zondlo. The HITRAN Application Programming Interface (HAPI) with HITRAN 2016 was used for spectroscopic simulations. Experiments were conducted to quantify H2O-broadened half-width at half maximum and validate spectroscopic simulations. N2O flux was measured with both eddy covariance and static chamber methods.
Elevated reactive nitrogen (Nr) deposition is a concern for alpine ecosystems, and dry NH3 deposition is a key contributor. Understanding how emission hotspots impact downwind ecosystems through dry NH3 deposition provides opportunities for effective mitigation. However, direct NH3 flux measurements with sufficient temporal resolution to quantify such events are rare. Here, we measured NH3 fluxes at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) during two summers and analyzed transport events from upwind agricultural and urban sources in northeastern Colorado. We deployed open-path NH3 sensors on a mobile laboratory and an eddy covariance tower to measure NH3 concentrations and fluxes. Our spatial sampling illustrated an upslope event that transported NH3 emissions from the hotspot to RMNP. Observed NH3 deposition was significantly higher when backtrajectories passed through only the agricultural region (7.9 ng m-2 s-1) versus only the urban area (1.0 ng m-2 s-1) and both urban and agricultural areas (2.7 ng m-2 s-1). Cumulative NH3 fluxes were calculated using observed, bidirectional modeled, and gap-filled fluxes. More than 40% of the total dry NH3 deposition occurred when air masses were traced back to agricultural source regions. More generally, we identified that 10 (25) more national parks in the U.S. are within 100 (200) km of an NH3 hotspot, and more observations are needed to quantify the impacts of these hotspots on dry NH3 depositions in these regions.
Wang, Rui; Guo, Xuehui; Pan, Da; Kelly, James; Bash, Jesse; Sun, Kang; Paulot, Fabien; Clarisse, Lieven; Van Damme, Martin; Whitburn, Simon; Coheur, Pierre-François; Clerbaux, Cathy; Zondlo, Mark
Monthly, high resolution (~2 km) ammonia (NH3) column maps from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) were developed across the contiguous United States and adjacent areas. Ammonia hotspots (95th percentile of the column distribution) were highly localized with a characteristic length scale of 12 km and median area of 152 km2. Five seasonality classes were identified with k-means++ clustering. The Midwest and eastern United States had a broad, spring maximum of NH3 (67% of hotspots in this cluster). The western United States, in contrast, showed a narrower mid-summer peak (32% of hotspots). IASI spatiotemporal clustering was consistent with those from the Ammonia Monitoring Network. CMAQ and GFDL-AM3 modeled NH3 columns have some success replicating the seasonal patterns but did not capture the regional differences. The high spatial-resolution monthly NH3 maps serve as a constraint for model simulations and as a guide for the placement of future, ground-based network sites.
Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) have been promoted in China to mitigate air pollution, yet our measurements and analyses show that NGV growth in China may have significant negative impacts on climate change. We conducted real-world vehicle emission measurements in China and found high methane emissions from heavy-duty NGVs (90% higher than current emission limits). These emissions have been ignored in previous emission estimates, leading to biased results. Applying our observations to life-cycle analyses, we found that switching to NGVs from conventional vehicles in China has led to a net increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2000. With scenario analyses, we also show that the next decade will be critical for China to reverse the trend with the upcoming China VI standard for heavy-duty vehicles. Implementing and enforcing the China VI standard is challenging, and the method demonstrated here can provide critical information regarding the fleet-level CH4 emissions from NGVs.
Yang, Yuan; Pan, Ming; Beck, Hylke; Fisher, Colby; Beighley, R. Edward; Kao, Shih-Chieh; Hong, Yang; Wood, Eric
Conventional basin-by-basin approaches to calibrate hydrologic models are limited to gauged basins and typically result in spatially discontinuous parameter fields. Moreover, the consequent low calibration density in space falls seriously behind the need from present-day applications like high resolution river hydrodynamic modeling. In this study we calibrated three key parameters of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model at every 1/8° grid-cell using machine learning-based maps of four streamflow characteristics for the conterminous United States (CONUS), with a total of 52,663 grid-cells. This new calibration approach, as an alternative to parameter regionalization, applied to ungauged regions too. A key difference made here is that we tried to regionalize physical variables (streamflow characteristics) instead of model parameters whose behavior may often be less well understood. The resulting parameter fields no longer presented any spatial discontinuities and the patterns corresponded well with climate characteristics, such as aridity and runoff ratio. The calibrated parameters were evaluated against observed streamflow from 704/648 (calibration/validation period) small-to-medium-sized catchments used to derive the streamflow characteristics, 3941/3809 (calibration/validation period) small-to-medium-sized catchments not used to derive the streamflow characteristics) as well as five large basins. Comparisons indicated marked improvements in bias and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency. Model performance was still poor in arid and semiarid regions, which is mostly due to both model structural and forcing deficiencies. Although the performance gain was limited by the relative small number of parameters to calibrate, the study and results here served as a proof-of-concept for a new promising approach for fine-scale hydrologic model calibrations.
Since 1850 the concentration of atmospheric methane (CH4), a potent greenhouse gas, has more than doubled. Recent studies suggest that emission inventories may be missing sources and underestimating emissions. To investigate whether offshore oil and gas platforms leak CH4 during normal operation, we measured CH4 mole fractions around eight oil and gas production platforms in the North Sea which were neither flaring gas nor off-loading oil. We use the measurements from summer 2017, along with meteorological data, in a Gaussian plume model to estimate CH4 emissions from each platform. We find CH4 mole fractions of between 11 and 370 ppb above background concentrations downwind of the platforms measured, corresponding to a median CH4 emission of 6.8 g CH4 s-1 for each platform, with a range of 2.9 to 22.3 g CH4 s-1. When matched to production records, during our measurements individual platforms lost between 0.04% and 1.4% of gas produced with a median loss of 0.23%. When the measured platforms are considered collectively, (i.e. the sum of platforms’ emission fluxes weighted by the sum of the platforms’ production), we estimate the CH4 loss to be 0.19% of gas production. These estimates are substantially higher than the emissions most recently reported to the National Atmospheric Emission Inventory (NAEI) for total CH4 loss from United Kingdom platforms in the North Sea. The NAEI reports CH4 losses from the offshore oil and gas platforms we measured to be 0.13% of gas production, with most of their emissions coming from gas flaring and offshore oil loading, neither of which were taking place at the time of our measurements. All oil and gas platforms we observed were found to leak CH4 during normal operation and much of this leakage has not been included in UK emission inventories. Further research is required to accurately determine total CH4 leakage from all offshore oil and gas operations and to properly include the leakage in national and international emission inventories.
Geochemical and geomechanical perturbations of the subsurface caused by the injection of fluids present the risk of leakage and seismicity. This study investigated how flow of acidic fluids affects hydraulic and frictional properties of fractures using experiments with 3.8 cm-long specimens of Eagle Ford shale, a laminated shale with carbonate-rich strata. In low-pressure flow cells, one set of samples was exposed to an acidic brine and another set was exposed to a neutral brine. X-ray computed tomography and x-ray fluorescence analysis revealed that samples exposed to the acidic brine were calcite-depleted and had developed a porous altered layer, while the other set showed little evidence of alteration. After reaction, samples were compacted and sheared in a triaxial cell that supplied normal stress and differential pore pressure at prescribed sliding velocities, independently measuring friction and permeability. During the initial compaction, the porous altered layer collapsed into fine particles that filled the fracture aperture. This effectively impeded flow and sealed the fracture, resulting in a decrease in fracture permeability by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude relative to the compressed unaltered fractures. During shear, the collapsed layer of fine-grained particles prevented the formation of interlocking micro-asperities resulting in lower frictional strength. With regard to subsurface risks, this study showcases how coupled geochemical and geomechanical processes could favorably seal fractures to inhibit leakage, but also could increase the likelihood of induced seismicity. These findings have important implications for geological carbon sequestration, pressurized fluid energy storage, geothermal energy, and other subsurface technologies.