07 Jun 2023
 | 07 Jun 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Spatiotemporally resolved emissions and concentrations of Styrene, Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes (SBTEX) in the U.S. Gulf region

Chi-Tsan Wang, Bok H. Baek, William Vizuete, Jia Xing, Jaime Green, Marc Serre, Richard Strott, Lawrence S. Engel, Jared Bowden, and Jung-Hun Woo

Abstract. Styrene, Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes (SBTEX) are established neurotoxicants. These SBTEX are hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and released from the petrochemical industry, combustion process, transport emission, and solvent usage sources. Although several SBTEX toxic assessment studies have been conducted, they have mainly relied on ambient measurements to estimate exposure and limiting their scope to specific locations and observational periods. To overcome these spatiotemporal limitations, an air quality modeling system over the U.S. Gulf region was created predicting the the spatially and temporally enhanced SBTEX modeling concentrations from May to September 2012. Due to the incompleteness of SBTEX in the official US EPA National Emission Inventory (NEI), Hazardous Air Pollutions Imputation (HAPI) program was used to identify and estimate the missing HAPs emissions. The improved emission data was processed to generate the chemically-speciated hourly gridded emission inputs for the Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions (CAMx) chemical transport model to simulate the SBTEX concentrations over the Gulf modeling region. SBTEX pollutants were modeled using a "Reactive Tracer" feature in CAMx that accounts for their chemical and physical processes in the atmosphere. The data shows that the major SBTEX emissions in this region are contributed by mobile emission (45 %), wildfire (30 %), and industry (26 %). Most SBTEX emissions are emitted during daytime hours (local time 14:00–17:00), and the emission rate in the model domain is about 20 – 40 t hr-1, which is about 4 times higher than that in the night-time (local time 24:00 – 4:00, about 4 – 10 t hr-1). High concentrations of SBTEX (above 1 ppb) occurred near the cities close to the I-10 interstate highway (Houston, Beaumont, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Mobile) and other metropolitan cities (Shreveport and Dallas). High Styrene concentrations were co-located with industrial sources, which contribute the most to the Styrene emissions. The HAPI program successfully estimated missing emissions of Styrene from the chemical industry. The change increased total Styrene emissions was increased by 22 % resulting in maximum ambient concentrations increasing from 0.035 ppb to 1.75 ppb across the model domain. The predicted SBTEX concentrations with imputed emissions present good agreement with observational data, with a correlation coefficient (R) of 0.75 (0.46 to 0.77 for individual SBTEX species) and normalized mean bias (NMB) of -5.6 % (-24.9 % to 32.1 % for individual SBTEX species), suggesting their value for supporting any SBTEX-related human health studies in the Gulf region.

Chi-Tsan Wang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-207', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Jun 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2023-207', Anonymous Referee #2, 22 Jul 2023
  • CC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-207', William Hutzell, 26 Jul 2023
  • AC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-207', Bok H. Baek, 31 Aug 2023

Chi-Tsan Wang et al.

Data sets

The Styrene, Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylenes (SBTEX) hourly gridding modeled emission and concentration for the Gulf region in the US Chi-Tsan Wang, Bok H. Baek, William Vizuete, and Lawrence S. Engel

Model code and software

Hazardous Air Pollutants Imputation (HAPI) Chi-tsan Wang

Chi-Tsan Wang et al.


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Short summary
The hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) human exposure studies usually rely on local measurements or dispersion model methods, but those methods are limited in spatial and temporal conditions. We processed the U.S. EPA emission data to simulate the hourly HAPs emission patterns and applied the chemical transport model to simulate the HAPs concentrations. The modeled HAPs results exhibit good agreement (R is 0.75 and NMB is -5.6 %) with observational data.