The Human Forest: Volatile Chemical Products Contribute to Urban Air Pollution

Matt Coggon

Matt Coggon


Wednesday, 12 February 2020
3:30 pm Mountain Time
DSRC 2A305


Recent work in Los Angeles has shown that emissions from consumer product and industrial solvent use – collectively, volatile chemical products (VCPs) – contribute as much to the abundance of urban volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as the emissions from motor vehicles. VCP emissions are predominantly emitted to the indoor environment, but are then transported to the outdoors via building exhaust. In this presentation, we will show that VCP emissions are ubiquitous in U.S. cities and correlate with urban population density. We will estimate the flux of these emissions and show that certain compounds, such as monoterpenes from fragrances, can be emitted at rates that rival those from biogenic sources. Finally, we will present WRF-Chem and box modeling results of an ozone pollution episode in New York City during summer, 2018. We will show that 30-40% of the photochemically produced ozone associated with anthropogenic VOC emissions was attributable to VCP sources. Modeled local ozone formation was sensitive to VOC reductions, while regional ozone formation was primarily dominated by biogenic VOCs reacting alongside NOx.

Matt Coggon earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Caltech, where his research focused on marine aerosol and clouds. He joined the NOAA Chemical Sciences Division in 2015 as a CIRES Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher. At NOAA, he has studied the chemistry of volatile organic compounds and emissions from anthropogenic and natural sources.

ALL Seminar attendees agree not to cite, quote, copy, or distribute material presented without the explicit written consent of the seminar presenter. Any opinions expressed in this seminar are those of the speaker alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NOAA or CSL.