Excerpt from Acid Rain and Air Pollution in Desert Park Areas: Proceedings of a Workshop, May 16-18, 1988 and Management Recommendations
Western United States emissions of sulfur dioxide (802) have historically been dominated by smelters in Arizona; these emissions declined as smelters closed. Future emissions are not likely to increase to the levels seen during the copper era unless a synfuel industry develops or the use of coal increases. While the regional picture is thus encouraging, individual urban areas will continue to grow, contributing nitrogen oxides (no, ) and so2 to more local receptor areas. Blanchard uses a mass balance approach to make the observation that less than one third of the soz and no, emitted in the region can be accounted for in precipitation. The remainder is either deposited to surfaces dry, or is transported out of the region.
The National Atmospheric Deposition Program (nadp) monitors precipitation chemistry at a number of sites in the Southwest. The mean annual precipitation ph has generally been less than or equal to at two of the 14 sites examined, Mesa Verde, co, and Oliver Knoll, az. At many sites, levels of sulfate and nitrate exceed background levels. Most of the 14 nadp sites examined exhibited relatively high concentrations of calcium (ca), representing a sizeable neutralizing capacity. Sites closest to urban or industrial sources showed strong inﬂuences from these sources. Some national park units, including Saguaro and Joshua Tree National Monuments, are located close enough to major sources of acid precursors that precipitation chemistry monitoring is warranted. It was concluded that acid rain is not a threat to resources of desert park areas by itself, but the effects of cumulative deposition of both wet and dry acidifying materials must be further explored.
Gaseous pollutants of concern in nps desert parks include: ozone, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds (voc). The nps Air Quality Division maintains a network of monitoring sites in desert parks that records information on spatial and temporal trends of pollutant concentrations. Scruggs concluded that even in remote desert parks pollutants often exceed background levels.
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