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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #230317

Title: Composition and Characteristics of Aerosols in the Southern High Plains of Texas (USA)

item Stout, John

Submitted to: International Conference on the Application of Accelerators in Research and
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2008
Publication Date: 3/10/2009
Citation: Gill, T.E., Stout, J.E., Peinado, P. 2009. Composition and Characteristics of Aerosols in the Southern High Plains of Texas (USA). AIP Conference Proceedings: Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry 20th International Conference. August 10-15, 2008, Fort Worth, Texas. p. 255-258.

Interpretive Summary: The Southern High Plains of West Texas, USA is an important source of mineral dust in North America. Dust events in this region have been extensively studied with regards to their climatology and the effect of soil properties on dust production via wind erosion. However, there have been few investigations focused on aerosols chemistry in this region. Aerosol filter samples have been collected on a daily basis at several sites (Lubbock, Reese Center, and Big Spring, Texas) in the region since 1996. This unique archive of samples provides an opportunity to better understand variations in concentration and chemistry of Southern High Plains aerosols. A suite of these filter samples was analyzed by PIXE (Particle-Induced X-ray Emission) for a preliminary reconnaissance of aerosol composition. Results suggest that silicon and other mineral elements tend to dominate during dust storms whereas sulfur tends to dominate during air pollution episodes. A mixture of both aerosol types was present during relatively clear conditions. The aluminum to silicon ratio was found to increase with wind speed during dust events.

Technical Abstract: Aerosol samples on polycarbonate filters were collected daily for several years in the Southern High Plains region of western Texas. Selected samples representing a variety of size modes, locations, and air quality conditions were analyzed by PIXE. Silicon and other crustal elements dominated during dust storms and in the coarse mode: sulfur dominated during anthropogenic pollution episodes and in the fine mode. A mixture of both aerosol types was present even during “clear” conditions. The Al/Si ratio in dust events increases with wind speed. These data provide an initial assessment of aerosol chemistry in the West Texas plains.