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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350851

Research Project: Developing Safe, Efficient and Environmentally Sound Management Practices for the Use of Animal Manure

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: A model-based exploratory study of sulfur dioxide dispersions from concentrated animal feeding operations in the Southeastern United States

item WINCHESTER, JESSE - Western Kentucky University
item MAHMOOD, REZAUL - Western Kentucky University
item RODGERS, WILLIAM - Western Kentucky University
item Silva, Philip - Phil
item Lovanh, Nanh
item DURKEE, JOSHUA - Western Kentucky University
item Loughrin, John

Submitted to: Physical Geography
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2021
Publication Date: 1/21/2021
Citation: Winchester, J., Mahmood, R., Rodgers, W., Silva, P.J., Lovanh, N.C., Durkee, J., Loughrin, J.H. 2021. A model-based exploratory study of sulfur dioxide dispersions from concentrated animal feeding operations in the Southeastern United States. Physical Geography.

Interpretive Summary: Sulfur compounds can be precursors to particulate matter formation. As the gaseous emissions of point and transportation sources of sulfur continue to decline, the emissions of sulfur from area sources related to agriculture will make up a larger fraction of the total sulfur emissions. The ability to accurately model the impact of area source emissions such as land operations greatly lags that for urban, point, and transportation sources. Here we perform baseline testing for modeling sulfur emissions from animal operations in the southeastern United States. Sulfur dioxide emission dispersion from several operations were modeled under different meteorological conditions to test the model performance. This baseline study of direct emissions of sulfur dioxide is to validate the model before adding future complexity to the model accounting for changes in the atmosphere due to chemistry. This study is the first step in producing a model that can be used by scientists, state agencies, and other stakeholders that can accurately predict emissions and transport from rural area sources.

Technical Abstract: Air quality modeling is a recent development in atmospheric science dedicated to simulating the characteristics of surface emissions within the context of a variety of meteorological conditions. In western Kentucky, there are several concentrated animal feeding operations that emit a variety of gases, including sulfur dioxide (SO2). In this paper emissions from locations representing operations in western Kentucky and the transit of SO2 throughout the southeastern U.S. were simulated in multiple sensitivity experiments using the Weather Research and Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem). Simulations were performed for the convective precipitation events that occurred over western Kentucky during summer, 2012. The spatial coverage of SO2 emissions originating from the locations was reduced during precipitation events and expanded during dry periods. The average concentration of SO2 over the study area was also higher during the breaks between precipitation events than during times when precipitation was occurring. The highest concentrations of SO2 exceeding 1 ppbv remained within close range of the emission locations for the majority of the simulations, except for when local surface winds were blowing at higher speeds. Most emissions from the locations remained limited to the surface and 850 mb levels.