Great Salt Lake Ambient Hydrochloric Acid Study

  • Principal Investigator: Randy Martin, USU
  • DAQ Contact: Nancy Daher, Ph. D.

Atmospheric chlorine is a strong oxidant and known to potentially initiate photochemistry via reactions with various common hydrocarbons. Kerry et al (2013) found that chlorine atoms significantly contribute to local Salt Lake City PM2.5 during elevated wintertime episodes with ammonium chloride accounting for 10-15% of the PM2.5 mass. In order quantify the concentrations of local atmospheric chlorides, a network of 14 passive hydrochloric acid (HCl) samplers was established around the west, south and east sides of the GSL and into the urban areas along the Wasatch Front. For comparison purposes, a site was also established in Cache Valley, a location not as directly impacted by emissions from the GSL as the other sites. The objective of this study was to perform a spatial survey of local atmospheric HCl concentrations to assess the possible contributions to atmospheric chemistry and identify areas of localized potential emissions. Results suggest that the Great Salt Lake (GSL) itself, the exposed shoreline and salt flats, and the local refineries are not dominant sources of the observed HCl. The magnesium refinery on the lake’s western shore, on the other hand, may strongly influence HCl concentrations in the Salt Lake Valley.