AUTC project number: 410003
Nicole Molders (UAF)
Air quality in Fairbanks, Alaska, has fallen below the 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality standard for PM2.5 every winter since the Environmental Protection Agency set the new standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Many people think traffic is an important contributor to the too-high PM2.5 concentrations. The Fairbanks North Star Borough started measuring PM2.5 concentrations using instrumented vehicles in the winters of 2008/09 and 2009/10. Although these measurements represent a mixture of all potential PM2.5 sources, they are typically taken in places (roadways) where traffic emissions could be higher than in adjacent neighborhoods. This research will assess the traffic-emission impact on observed concentrations under various traffic and cold-weather conditions using an Alaska-optimized version of EPA's regulatory model called WRF-CMAQ. Data from this project and the ongoing Mobile Measurement Project will be added to a GIS framework to create maps that show PM2.5 concentrations in Fairbanks neighborhoods under various weather conditions. These maps will be available on the web for public information on air quality. This project will help the FNSB assess how much traffic contributes to our poor winter air quality. It will also help the borough develop good, fair, airpollution mitigation strategies.