2022 journal article
Particulate Matter and Ammonia Pollution in the Animal Agricultural-Producing Regions of North Carolina: Integrated Ground-Based Measurements and Satellite Analysis
Intensive animal agriculture is an important part of the US and North Carolina’s (NC’s) economy. Large emissions of ammonia (NH3) gas emanate from the handling of animal wastes at these operations contributing to the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) around the state causing a variety of human health and environmental effects. The objective of this research is to provide the relationship between ammonia, aerosol optical depth and meteorology and its effect on PM2.5 concentrations using satellite observations (column ammonia and aerosol optical depth (AOD)) and ground-based meteorological observations. An observational-based multiple linear regression model was derived to predict ground-level PM2.5 during the summer months (JJA) from 2008–2017 in New Hanover County, Catawba County and Sampson County. A combination of the Cumberland and Johnston County models for the summer was chosen and validated for Duplin County, NC, then used to predict Sampson County, NC, PM2.5 concentrations. The model predicted a total of six 24 h exceedances over the nine-year period. This indicates that there are rural areas of the state that may have air quality issues that are not captured for a lack of measurements. Moreover, PM2.5 chemical composition analysis suggests that ammonium is a major component of the PM2.5 aerosol.