Modeling the impact of a potential shale gas industry in Germany and the United Kingdom on ozone with WRF-Chem

  • Germany and the United Kingdom have domestic shale gas reserves which they may exploit in the future to complement their national energy strategies. However gas production releases volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which through photochemical reaction form ground-level ozone, an air pollutant that can trigger adverse health effects e.g. on the respiratory system. This study explores the range of impacts of a potential shale gas industry in these two countries on local and regional ambient ozone. To this end, comprehensive emission scenarios are used as the basis for input to an online-coupled regional chemistry transport model (WRF-Chem). Here we simulate shale gas scenarios over summer (June, July, August) 2011, exploring the effects of varying VOC emissions, gas speciation, and concentration of NOx emissions over space and time, on ozone formation. An evaluation of the model setup is performed, which exhibited the model’s ability to predict surface meteorological and chemical variables well compared withGermany and the United Kingdom have domestic shale gas reserves which they may exploit in the future to complement their national energy strategies. However gas production releases volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which through photochemical reaction form ground-level ozone, an air pollutant that can trigger adverse health effects e.g. on the respiratory system. This study explores the range of impacts of a potential shale gas industry in these two countries on local and regional ambient ozone. To this end, comprehensive emission scenarios are used as the basis for input to an online-coupled regional chemistry transport model (WRF-Chem). Here we simulate shale gas scenarios over summer (June, July, August) 2011, exploring the effects of varying VOC emissions, gas speciation, and concentration of NOx emissions over space and time, on ozone formation. An evaluation of the model setup is performed, which exhibited the model’s ability to predict surface meteorological and chemical variables well compared with observations, and consistent with other studies. When different shale gas scenarios were employed, the results show a peak increase in maximum daily 8-hour average ozone from 3.7 to 28.3 μg m–3. In addition, we find that shale gas emissions can force ozone exceedances at a considerable percentage of regulatory measurement stations locally (up to 21% in Germany and 35% in the United Kingdom) and in distant countries through long-range transport, and increase the cumulative health-related metric SOMO35 (maximum percent increase of ~28%) throughout the region. Findings indicate that VOC emissions are important for ozone enhancement, and to a lesser extent NOx, meaning that VOC regulation for a future European shale gas industry will be of especial importance to mitigate unfavorable health outcomes. Overall our findings demonstrate that shale gas production in Europe can worsen ozone air quality on both the local and regional scales.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Lindsey B. WegerORCiD, Aurelia LupascuORCiD, Lorenzo Cremonese, Tim Butler
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.387
ISSN:2325-1026
Parent Title (English):Elementa-sccience of the anthropocene
Publisher:Univ California Press
Place of publication:Oakland
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2019
Year of Completion:2019
Release Date:2020/09/14
Tag:Emission scenarios; European air quality; Methane leakage; Ozone; Shale gas; WRF-Chem
Volume:7
Pagenumber:25
Funder:German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)Federal Ministry of Education & Research (BMBF); German Research for Sustainable Development (FONA); Ministry for Science, Research and Culture of the Federal State of Brandenburg
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access
Open Access / Gold Open-Access
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