Northern Utah Air Pollution

Current & Ongoing Studies

While Utah enjoys clean air during most of the year, its unique topography and meteorology make it susceptible to elevated levels of fine particulates (PM2.5) during winter inversions and to ozone during the summer months.

Wasatch Front Ammonia and Chloride Observations (WaFACO)

The objective of this study is to define the spatio-temporal behavior of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) along the Wasatch Front across both summer and winter seasons. This objective will be accomplished through three tasks developed in consultation with UDAQ and the U.S. EPA. These tasks include 1) networked NH3 and HCl observations, 2) particulate chloride spatial distributions, and 3) mobile real-time NH3 assessments.

Characterizing Air Quality Impacts from Exceptional Events along the Wasatch Front

This study, led by researchers at BYU, will use particulate matter (PM) sampling to identify regional dust sources that impact local air quality and public health, as well as model how dust sources might change in the future.

The Red Butte Canyon Ozone Network: Leveraging Existing Infrastructure to Probe Background Concentrations, Canyon Flows, and Stratospheric Oxidant Exchange

This study will deploy a number of ozone sensors at different distances up Red Butte Canyon to better understand natural gradients in ozone and how phenomena like large thunderstorms and valley drainage flows contribute to ozone concentrations in the Salt Lake Valley.

The Red Butte Canyon Air Mass Exchange and Pollution Transport Study

The University of Utah will make measurements of vertical wind and aerosol profiles, as well as ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon in order to better understand air exchange in the Salt Lake Valley during wintertime PM2.5 events.

Investigating Sources of Ammonia Uncertainty in Modeling the Salt lake City PM2.5 Nonattainment Area

Photo by B. LeBaron

This study will investigate the existing emission inventory of ammonia (NH3) sources and compare modeled NH3 concentrations to those observed during recent field studies in order to identify and correct missing NH3 sources. In addition to improving the inventory, this study will add new NH3 emission pathways to the photochemical model.

TRAX Air Quality Observation Project (Blue Line)

The TRAX air quality project continues to measure PM2.5 and ozone from TRAX light rail trains, and will add measurements to the Blue line. All data is publicly available and posted in near real-time on the MesoWest website.

Aethalometer Study for Estimating Compliance with Wood-burning Ban

The University of Utah Department of Chemical Engineering will collaborate with UDAQ to estimate the contributions of wood burning to wintertime PM2.5 levels using aethalometer data from four locations and from mobile aethalometer measurements. The goal of this study is to identify and understand levels of wood burning and compliance with wood-burning restrictions during the winter of 2018/2019.

Understanding how Wood-burning’s Contribution to Particulate Matter Concentrations have Changed over Time

Wood burning contributes to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution in the Wasatch Front, and reducing the use of wood burning during pollution episodes has been the focus of many policy decisions. This study looks at patterns of temperature, heat deficit, and day of the week along with markers of woodsmoke and mandatory no-burn days, to try and understand if public awareness and policy efforts have been effective in reducing wood burning during pollution events.

Ammonia Emission Assessment from Diesel and Gasoline Engines under Utah Specific Conditions

To better understand the contribution of automobiles to Utah ammonia emissions, tailpipe ammonia (NH3) measurements will be taken in laboratory and on-road settings for an array of diesel and gasoline vehicles representative of Utah’s vehicle fleet.