The Influence of Marcellus Shale Extraction Emissions on Regionally Monitored Dry Reactive Nitrogen Deposition

Justin G. Coughlin, Lucy A. Rose, Daniel J. Bain, Emily M. Elliott

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Abstract

Emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the United States (U.S.) from large stationary sources, such as electric generating units, have decreased since 1995, driving decreases in nitrogen deposition. However, increasing NOx emissions from emerging industries, such as unconventional natural gas (UNG) extraction, could offset stationary source emission reductions in shale gas producing regions of the U.S. The Marcellus Shale in the northeastern U.S. has seen dramatic increases in the number of wells and associated natural gas production during the past 10 years. In this study, we examine the potential impacts of shale gas development on regional NOx emission inventories and dry deposition fluxes to Clean Air Status and Trends (CASTNET) sites in Pennsylvania and New York. Our results demonstrate that the current distribution of CASTNET sites is ineffective for monitoring the influence of Marcellus well NOx emissions on regional nitrogen deposition. Despite the fact that existing CASTNET sites are not influenced by UNG extraction activity, NOx emissions densities from shale gas extraction are substantial and are estimated to reach up to 21 kg NOx ha-1 year-1 in some regions. If these emissions deposit locally, UNG extraction activity could contribute to critical nitrogen load exceedances in areas of high well density. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3542-3549
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume51
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 21 2017

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Nitrogen Oxides
Shale
nitrogen oxides
shale
Nitrogen
nitrogen
Natural gas
Units of measurement
emission inventory
dry deposition
gas production
natural gas
Deposits
Fluxes
well
Monitoring
industry
air
monitoring
Air

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The Influence of Marcellus Shale Extraction Emissions on Regionally Monitored Dry Reactive Nitrogen Deposition. / Coughlin, Justin G.; Rose, Lucy A.; Bain, Daniel J.; Elliott, Emily M.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 51, No. 6, 21.03.2017, p. 3542-3549.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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