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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  29 Sep 2020

29 Sep 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Comparison of Ozone Measurement Methods in Biomass Burning Smoke: An evaluation under field and laboratory conditions

Russell W. Long1, Andrew Whitehill1, Andrew Habel2, Shawn Urbanski3, Hannah Halliday1, Maribel Colón1, Surender Kaushik1, and Matthew S. Landis1 Russell W. Long et al.
  • 1Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling, Office of Research and Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States of America
  • 2Jacobs Technology Inc., Research Triangle Park, North Caroline, United States of America
  • 3U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula, MT, United States of America

Abstract. In recent years wildland fires in the United States have had significant impacts on local and regional air quality and negative human health outcomes. Although the primary health concerns from wildland fires come from fine particulate matter (PM2.5), large increases in ozone (O3) are also observed downwind of wildland fire plumes. Conditions generated in and around wildland fire plumes, including the presence of interfering chemical species, can make the accurate measurement of O3 concentrations using the ultraviolet (UV) photometric method challenging if not impossible. UV photometric method instruments are prone to interferences by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are present at high concentrations in wildland fire smoke. Four different O3 measurement methodologies were deployed in a mobile sampling platform downwind of active prescribed grassland fire lines in Kansas and Oregon and during controlled chamber burns at the United States Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana. We demonstrate that the Federal Reference Method (FRM) nitric oxide (NO) chemiluminescence monitors and Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) gas-phase (NO) chemical scrubber UV photometric O3 monitors are relatively interference-free, even in near-field combustion plumes. In contrast, FEM UV photometric O3 monitors using solid-phase catalytic scrubbers show positive artifacts that are positively correlated with carbon monoxide (CO) and total gas phase hydrocarbons (THC), two indicator species of biomass burning. Of the two catalytic scrubber UV photometric methods evaluated, the instruments that included a Nafion® tube dryer in the sample introduction system had artifacts an order of magnitude smaller than the instrument with no humidity correction. We hypothesize that Nafion®--permeable VOCs (such as aromatic hydrocarbons) could be a significant source of interference for catalytic scrubber UV photometric O3 monitors, and that the inclusion of a Nafion® tube dryer assists with the mitigation of these interferences. The interference-free chemiluminescence FRM method is highly recommended for accurate measurements of O3 in wildland fire plume studies and at regulatory ambient monitoring sites frequently impacted by wildland fire smoke.

Russell W. Long et al.

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Russell W. Long et al.

Russell W. Long et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This manuscript details field and laboratory-based evaluations of ozone monitoring methods in smoke. UV photometry, the most widely used measurement method for ozone in ambient air, was shown to suffer from a severe positive interference when operated in the presence of smoke while chemiluminescence based methods were shown to be free of interferences. The results detailed in this paper will provide monitoring agencies with the tools need to address smoke related ozone measurement challenges.
This manuscript details field and laboratory-based evaluations of ozone monitoring methods in...