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Airborne Measurements of Ethene from Industrial Sources Using Laser Photo-Acoustic Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2009, 00:00 by J. A. de Gouw, S. Te Lintel Hekkert, J. Mellqvist, C. Warneke, E. L. Atlas, F. C. Fehsenfeld, A. Fried, G. J. Frost, F. J. M. Harren, J. S. Holloway, B. Lefer, R. Lueb, J. F. Meagher, D. D. Parrish, M. Patel, L. Pope, D. Richter, C. Rivera, T. B. Ryerson, J. Samuelsson, J. Walega, R. A. Washenfelder, P. Weibring, X. Zhu
A laser photoacoustic spectroscopy (LPAS) instrument was developed and used for aircraft measurements of ethene from industrial sources near Houston, Texas. The instrument provided 20 s measurements with a detection limit of less than 0.7 ppbv. Data from this instrument and from the GC-FID analysis of air samples collected in flight agreed within 15% on average. Ethene fluxes from the Mt. Belvieu chemical complex to the northeast of Houston were quantified during 10 different flights. The average flux was 520 ± 140 kg h−1 in agreement with independent results from solar occultation flux (SOF) measurements, and roughly an order of magnitude higher than regulatory emission inventories indicate. This study shows that ethene emissions are routinely at levels that qualify as emission upsets, which need to be reported to regional air quality managers.