To assist in air quality management decision-making and analysis work across the state of Utah, STI and project partners developed an air quality modeling framework for the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Over the past decade, significant oil and gas development in the Uintah Basin resulted in elevated levels of ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations. The Utah BLM and other air managers in the state required a reusable air quality modeling framework that could be used to conduct long-range planning and inform management decisions related to emissions controls and the pace of oil and gas development.
As part of this project, STI performed meteorological modeling with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and focused on improving the characterizations of cold pool stagnation events, which required updating the model’s representation of snow cover. STI also updated the emissions inventory for the region and performed annual air quality modeling simulations with two photochemical grid models—CAMx and CMAQ—to determine which model performed better in the region.