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Thesis defense: Sam Rossabi

Monday, October 29, 2018, 2:00PM - 5:00PM


Sam Rossabi


Sievers Conference Room (SEEC S228)


Characterization of volatile organic compound emissions


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted by a variety of anthropogenic and biogenic sources. This thesis investigates trends in VOC emissions on global, regional, and local scales. Globally, increasing trends in ethane and propane emissions were observed in and downwind of the central United States, mainly as a result of oil and natural gas (O&NG) development. Regionally, trends in isomers and isomeric ratios of i- and n- butanes and pentanes varied as a result of emission controls on mobile and industrial sources, and unconventional O&NG development. Unconventional O&NG development, in addition to other urban emission sources, has also had a demonstrated effect on air composition in Colorado’s Northern Front Range. An elevation gradient was observed that suggests emissions from metropolitan areas in this region influence air composition in the adjacent foothills. A spatial gradient of O&NG tracers was also observed; mixing ratios increased as distance to an area of concentrated O&NG development decreased. Given the ever increasing proximity of O&NG emissions to population centers, concerned citizens desire an affordable method to assess air quality in and around their homes, schools, and offices. A method for measuring C3-C5 alkanes was developed utilizing passive adsorbent sampling cartridges. Finally, VOC emissions from soil and bacteria are characterized, and temporal dynamics of soil emissions as a result of rewetting dried soil were investigated.