Observation of Road Salt Aerosol Driving Inland Wintertime Atmospheric Chlorine Chemistry.
ABSTRACT: Inland sources of particulate chloride for atmospheric nitryl chloride (ClNO2) formation remain unknown and unquantified, hindering air quality assessments. Globally each winter, tens of millions of tons of road salt are spread on roadways for deicing. Here, we identify road salt aerosol as the primary chloride aerosol source, accounting for 80-100% of ClNO2 formation, at an inland urban area in the wintertime. This study provides experimental evidence of the connection between road salt and air quality through the production of this important reservoir for nitrogen oxides and chlorine radicals, which significantly impact atmospheric composition and pollutant fates. A numerical model was employed to quantify the contributions of chloride sources to ClNO2 production. The traditional method for simulating ClNO2 considers chloride to be homogeneously distributed across the atmospheric particle population; yet, we show that only a fraction of the particulate surface area contains chloride. Our new single-particle parametrization considers this heterogeneity, dramatically lowering overestimations of ClNO2 levels that have been routinely reported using the prevailing methods. The identification of road salt as a ClNO2 source links this common deicing practice to atmospheric composition and air quality in the urban wintertime environment.
Project description:Mobilization of trace metals from soils to surface waters can impact both human and ecosystem health. This study resamples a water sample archive to explore the spatial pattern of streamwater total concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc and their associations with biogeochemical controls in northern New England. Road deicing appears to result in elevated trace metal concentrations, as trace metal concentrations are strongly related to sodium concentrations and are most elevated when the sodium: chloride ratio is near 1.0 (~halite). Our results are consistent with previous laboratory and field studies that indicate cation exchange as a metal mobilization mechanism when road salt is applied to soils containing metals. This study also documents associations among sodium, chloride, dissolved organic carbon, iron, and metal concentrations, suggesting cation exchange mechanisms related to road deicing are not the only mechanisms that increase trace metal concentrations in surface waters. In addition to cation exchange, this study considers dissolved organic carbon complexation and oxidation-reduction conditions affecting metal mobility from soils in a salt-rich environment. These observations demonstrate that road deicing has the potential to increase streamwater trace metal concentrations across broad spatial scales and increase risks to human and ecosystem health.
Project description:The lifetime of reactive nitrogen and the production rate of reactive halogens in the marine boundary layer are strongly impacted by reactions occurring at aqueous interfaces. Despite the potential importance of the air-sea interface in serving as a reactive surface, few direct field observations are available to assess its impact on reactive nitrogen deposition and halogen activation. Here, we present direct measurements of the vertical fluxes of the reactant-product pair N2O5 and ClNO2 to assess the role of the ocean surface in the exchange of reactive nitrogen and halogens. We measure nocturnal N2O5 exchange velocities (Vex = -1.66 ± 0.60 cm s(-1)) that are limited by atmospheric transport of N2O5 to the air-sea interface. Surprisingly, vertical fluxes of ClNO2, the product of N2O5 reactive uptake to concentrated chloride containing surfaces, display net deposition, suggesting that elevated ClNO2 mixing ratios found in the marine boundary layer are sustained primarily by N2O5 reactions with aerosol particles. Comparison of measured deposition rates and in situ observations of N2O5 reactive uptake to aerosol particles indicates that N2O5 deposition to the ocean surface accounts for between 26% and 42% of the total loss rate. The combination of large Vex, N2O5 and net deposition of ClNO2 acts to limit NOx recycling rates and the production of Cl atoms by shortening the nocturnal lifetime of N2O5. These results indicate that air-sea exchange processes account for as much as 15% of nocturnal NOx removal in polluted coastal regions and can serve to reduce ClNO2 concentrations at sunrise by over 20%.
Project description:We present airborne observations of gaseous reactive halogen species (HCl, Cl2, ClNO2, Br2,BrNO2, and BrCl), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nonrefractory fine particulate chloride (pCl) and sulfate(pSO4) in power plant exhaust. Measurements were conducted during the Wintertime INvestigation of Transport, Emissions, and Reactivity campaign in February-March of 2015 aboard the NCAR-NSF C-130 aircraft. Fifty air mass encounters were identified in which SO2 levels were elevated ~5 ppb above ambient background levels and in proximity to operational power plants. Each encounter was attributed to one or more potential emission sources using a simple wind trajectory analysis. In case studies, we compare measured emission ratios to those reported in the 2011 National Emissions Inventory and present evidence of the conversion of HCl emitted from power plants to ClNO2. Taking into account possible chemical conversion downwind, there was general agreement between the observed and reported HCl: SO2 emission ratios. Reactive bromine species (Br2, BrNO2, and/or BrCl) were detected in the exhaust of some coal-fired power plants, likely related to the absence of wet flue gas desulfurization emission control technology. Levels of bromine species enhanced in some encounters exceeded those expected assuming all of the native bromide in coal was released to the atmosphere, though there was no reported use of bromide salts (as a way to reduce mercury emissions) during Wintertime INvestigation of Transport, Emissions, and Reactivity observations. These measurements represent the first ever in-flight observations of reactive gaseous chlorine and bromine containing compounds present in coal-fired power plant exhaust.
Project description:In cold regions, calcium and magnesium chloride deicing salts damage concrete pavements due to the formation of certain deleterious chemical phases, including calcium oxychloride. While there is much research at a cement paste-scale, damage in concrete has been less studied. In this study, we evaluate concrete damage due to calcium and magnesium chloride and explain the roles of supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) replacement level, air entrainment, salt type, and exposure conditions in damage development. Various non-destructive test methods including bulk resistivity, mass change, and visual damage assessment were used to monitor the damage over time. Damage was reduced as the SCM replacement level and air content increased, regardless of exposure conditions. Bulk resistivity and visual assessment were promising indicators of damage. The product of 91-day bulk resistivity and the air content predicted concrete performance when exposed to concentrated deicing salts. Based on several criteria, mixtures with 20% fly ash replacement level or 35% slag mitigated damage significantly when the air content was greater than 5% by concrete volume. Damage mitigation mechanisms of SCM and air are discussed.<h4>Supplementary information</h4>The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1617/s11527-022-01992-y.
Project description:The application of millions of tons of road deicing salts every winter in North America presents significant survival challenges to amphibians inhabiting roadside habitats. While much is known of the effects of NaCl on anuran tadpoles, less is known of effects on amphibian eggs, or any caudate life stage. In addition, little is known of the effects of MgCl2, which is now the 2nd most commonly used road deicer. Most studies have considered amphibians to be helpless victims of deicing salts, and ignore the possibility of the evolution of local adaptation to this stressor. We attempt to address these knowledge gaps and explore this evolutionary potential by examining the effects of NaCl and MgCl2 on the survival and development of eggs from different female rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa) from the same population. We demonstrate that both salts, at environmentally relevant concentrations, severely affect the embryonic survival and development of this amphibian, but that the effects of the salt are dependent on the identity of the mother. This female × treatment interaction results in substantial variation in tolerance to road deicing salts among newt families, providing the raw material necessary for natural selection and the evolution of local adaptation in this amphibian.
Project description:Human-induced (i.e., secondary) salinization affects aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide. While agriculture or resource extraction are the main drivers of secondary salinization in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, the application of deicing road salt in winter can be an important source of salts entering freshwaters in cold regions. Alpine rivers are probably affected by salinization, especially in highly populated mountain regions, although this remains to be explored. In this study, we analyzed multi-year conductance time series from four rivers in the European Alps and demonstrated that the application of deicing road salt is linked to peaking rivers' salinity levels during late winter/early spring. Especially in small catchments with more urban surfaces close to the rivers, conductance increased during constant low-flow periods in late winter and was less correlated with discharge than in summer. Thus, our results suggest that small rivers highly connected to urban infrastructures are prone to considerable salinity peaks during late winter/early spring. Given the low natural level of salinities in Alpine rivers, the aquatic biodiversity might be significantly affected by the recorded changes in conductance, with potential consequences on ecosystem functioning. Thereby, we urge the research community to assess the impact of secondary salinization in Alpine rivers and call for an implementation of management practices to prevent the degradation of these pristine and valuable ecosystems.
Project description:Anthropogenic sources of chloride in a lake catchment, including road salt, fertilizer, and wastewater, can elevate the chloride concentration in freshwater lakes above background levels. Rising chloride concentrations can impact lake ecology and ecosystem services such as fisheries and the use of lakes as drinking water sources. To analyze the spatial extent and magnitude of increasing chloride concentrations in freshwater lakes, we amassed a database of 529 lakes in Europe and North America that had greater than or equal to ten years of chloride data. For each lake, we calculated climate statistics of mean annual total precipitation and mean monthly air temperatures from gridded global datasets. We also quantified land cover metrics, including road density and impervious surface, in buffer zones of 100 to 1,500 m surrounding the perimeter of each lake. This database represents the largest global collection of lake chloride data. We hope that long-term water quality measurements in areas outside Europe and North America can be added to the database as they become available in the future.
Project description:Mercury is an important global toxic contaminant of concern that causes cognitive and neuromuscular damage in humans. It is ubiquitous in the environment and can travel in the air, in water, or adsorb to soils, snow, ice and sediment. Two significant factors that influence the fate of atmospheric mercury, its introduction to aquatic and terrestrial environments, and its bioaccumulation and biomagnification in biotic systems are the chemical species or forms that mercury exists as (elemental, oxidized or organic) and its physical phase (solid, liquid/aqueous, or gaseous). In this work, we show that previously unknown mercury-containing nanoparticles exist in the air using high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging (HR-STEM). Deploying an urban-air field campaign near a mercury point source, we provide further evidence for mercury nanoparticles and determine the extent to which these particles contain two long suspected forms of oxidized mercury (mercuric bromide and mercuric chloride) using mercury mass spectrometry (Hg-MS). Using optical particle sizers, we also conclude that the conventional method of measuring gaseous oxidized mercury worldwide can trap up to 95% of nanoparticulate mercuric halides leading to erroneous measurements. Finally, we estimate airborne mercury aerosols may contribute to half of the oxidized mercury measured in wintertime Montréal urban air using Hg-MS. These emerging mercury-containing nanoparticle contaminants will influence mercury deposition, speciation and other atmospheric and aquatic biogeochemical mercury processes including the bioavailability of oxidized mercury to biota and its transformation to neurotoxic organic mercury.
Project description:The oceans are the main source of natural halogen and sulfur compounds, which have a significant influence on the oxidizing capacity of the marine atmosphere; however, their impact on the air quality of coastal cities is currently unknown. We explore the effect of marine halogens (Cl, Br and I) and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) on the air quality of a large coastal city through a set of high-resolution (4-km) air quality simulations for the urban area of Los Angeles, US, using the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ model). The results indicate that marine halogen emissions decrease ozone and nitrogen dioxide levels up to 5ppbv and 2.5ppbv, respectively, in the city of Los Angeles. Previous studies suggested that the inclusion of chlorine in air quality models leads to the generation of ozone in urban areas through photolysis of nitryl chloride (ClNO2). However, we find that when considering the chemistry of Cl, Br and I together the net effect is a reduction of surface ozone concentrations. Furthermore, combined ocean emissions of halogens and DMS cause substantial changes in the levels of key urban atmospheric oxidants such as OH, HO2 and NO3, and in the composition and mass of fine particles. Although the levels of ozone, NO3 and HOx are reduced, we find a 10% increase in secondary organic aerosol (SOA) mean concentration, attributed to the increase in aerosol acidity and sulfate aerosol formation when combining DMS and bromine. Therefore, this new pathway for enhanced SOA formation may potentially help with current model under predictions of urban SOA. Although further observations and research are needed to establish these preliminary conclusions, this first city-scale investigation suggests that the inclusion of oceanic halogens and DMS in air quality models may improve regional air quality predictions over coastal cities around the world.
Project description:Concentrations of 11 species are reported from continuous measurements taken during a wintertime field study in Utah. Time series data for measured species generally displayed strong diurnal patterns. Six species show a diurnal pattern of daytime maximums (NO, NOy, O3, H2O2, CH2O2, and Cl2), while five species show a diurnal pattern of night time maximums (NO2, HONO, ClNO2, HNO3, and N2O5). Vector autoregression analyses were completed to better understand important species influencing the formation of O3 and NOx. For the species studied, r2 values of predicted versus measured concentrations ranged from 0.82-0.99. Fitting parameters for the autoregressive matrix, ?, indicated the importance of species precursors. In addition, values of fitting parameters for ? were relatively insensitive to data size, with variations generally <10%. Variable causation was quantified using the Granger causation method. Assuming O3 and NOx behave as chemical products, reactants (in order of importance) are as follows: H2O2, N2O5, HONO, and ClNO2.