Fate of Particulate Matter from Cruise-Ship Emissions in Glacier Bay during the 2008 Tourist Season

DOI: 10.4236/jep.2014.512118   PDF   HTML     2,657 Downloads   3,235 Views   Citations

Abstract

Simulations from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model, inline coupled with chemistry, were used to examine the fate of particulate matter with diameter of 10 μm or less (PM10) in Glacier Bay, Alaska during the 2008 tourist season. The simulations demonstrated that mesoscale and synoptic scale weather systems affect the residence time of PM10, the magnitude of concentrations, and its transport in and out of Glacier Bay. Strong inversions exceeding 2 K (100 m)-1 cause notable trapping of pollutants from cruise-ship emissions, increasing PM10 concentrations up to 43% compared to days with cruise-ship visits without the presence of an inversion. Inversions occurred locally in Glacier Bay on 42% of the 124-day tourist season with an average lifetime of 9 h. Pollutants occasionally originated from outside the National Park when southerly winds advected pollutants from ship traffic in Icy Strait. Occasionally, orographically forced lifting over the Fairweather Mountains transported pollutants from the Gulf of Alaska into Glacier Bay. While hourly (daily) PM10 concentrations reached ~44 μg·m-3 (22 μg·m-3) in some areas of Glacier Bay, overall seasonal average PM10 concentrations were below 2 μg·m-3. Despite up to two cruise-ship visits per day, Glacier Bay still has pristine air quality. Surface and upper air meteorological state variables were evaluated through an extensive network of surface and radiosonde observations, which demonstrated that the model was able to capture the meteorological conditions well.

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Pirhalla, M. , Gende, S. and Mölders, N. (2014) Fate of Particulate Matter from Cruise-Ship Emissions in Glacier Bay during the 2008 Tourist Season. Journal of Environmental Protection, 5, 1235-1254. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.512118.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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