8.1  Recent findings from the summer 2013 intensive monitoring campaign (both ground-based and airborne components)

Stewart Cober, Environment Canada





A short term intensive measurement campaign was carried out in August and September 2013 in support of the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Plan Air Component. The study had three objectives: 1) to quantify and characterize emissions of criteria air contaminants (CACs) and other air pollutants from individual facilities in the Athabasca oil sands region; 2) to understand the transport and transformation of primary pollutants as they move down stream of the oil sands region; and 3) to provide data for improvement and validation of satellite retrieval techniques and the Environment Canada numerical air quality prediction model. Surface measurements were collected at two sites including AMS 13 which is 3.5 km south of Fort McKay and the Oski- ôtin air monitoring site in Fort McKay. Airborne measurements were collected with the National Research Council of Canada Convair-580 aircraft, including 14 flights primarily for emission validation, 5 flights for transport and transformation of oil sands pollutants, and 5 flights for satellite data validation. Subsequent to the measurement campaign the data were quality controlled and much of the data are now available on the data portal. Several early results from this study will be highlighted including 1) the application of an algorithm that can be used to estimate total emission rates of pollutants from oil sand facilities; 2) an estimation of the formation of secondary organic aerosols and particulate matter from oil sands operations; and 3) an evaluation of focused measurements of reduced sulphur compounds in Fort McKay that suggest that compliance monitoring in the region may not be accurately capturing the characteristics of some of these events.




Dr. Stewart Cober completed his PhD in atmospheric physics at the University of Toronto in 1991, and joined Environment Canada as a Research Scientist. He became a research manager in 2001. In 2012 he became the section manager of the Air Quality Processes Research Section at Environment Canada.