Linking Volatile Chemical Products and Air Quality
Pre-proposal Solicitation Scope of Work for:
Analysis of Particulate Matter Composition Measured in Los Angeles, CA During RECAP-CA
The objective of this project is to analyze recently collected air quality data in the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB) to improve understanding of the sources and processing of local organic and inorganic particulate matter (PM). Comparisons of this recent data with previous ambient measurement campaigns in Los Angeles (e.g., the California Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change 2010 or CalNex-2010 atmospheric field campaign) will determine the relative role of changing emissions (including volatile chemical products, VCPs), atmospheric chemistries, and oxidant concentrations on past and future trends in organic PM concentrations. This work is critical for CARB in the development of optimal regulatory policies to improve air quality in the SoCAB and attain compliance with the annual PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).
The concentration of PM concentration in the SoCAB has not decreased substantially in recent years, and the SoCAB remains in non-attainment for the federal annual PM2.5 NAAQS. Further reductions in local PM concentrations are required by the CAA to reduce the impacts of local air pollution on human health and bring the SoCAB into compliance with the U.S. EPA annual PM2.5 NAAQS. The underlying reasons for the lack of improvement in light of previously enacted SIPs; however, are poorly understood.
Recent re-evaluations of fossil fuel inventories have indicated that VCPs contribute a notable, previously underestimated fraction of urban PM that may be increasing in magnitude. Asphalt used in road pavement and roofing material has been identified as another potential significant source of low-volatility vapors with large OA formation potential in Southern California that are not well characterized in urban emission inventories. Reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions may also increase the PM formation efficiency of organic precursors through changes in atmospheric oxidation chemistry. Determining the relative importance of these various possible explanations requires detailed measurements of aerosol composition and precursor organic and inorganic gases. Results from this project will provide both the up-to-date datasets and detailed analyses that are needed to inform development of regulatory policies and control measures for a SIP that can reduce PM concentrations.
III. Scope of Work
This project will improve understanding of the sources of organic and inorganic PM in the South Coast Air Basin through analysis of recently collected aerosol- and gas-phase composition data from the 2021 ReEvaluation of California Air Pollution (RECAP-CA) atmospheric field campaign in Pasadena, California. The contractor should develop a research plan and project schedule that addresses all tasks described below.
Task 1: Data QA/QC and Archive Construction
For this task the contractor will conduct Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) on the aerosol and trace gas data collected by Caltech during the 2021 RECAP campaign in Pasadena, CA. The data sets will include the aerosol composition measured by an Aerodyne High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (non-refractory, sub micron PM), gas-phase pollutants from a suite of Teledyne and Picarro instruments (including NO, NO2, NOy, O3, CO, CO2, CH4), several inorganic and organic chemical species measured with a Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer, and aerosol size distribution data. The data will also be aggregated into diurnal profiles to aid evaluation of diurnal trends and relative contributions of different chemical classes. The final aerosol and trace gas data will be provided to the CARB and will be deposited to a long-term data archive, which will be made available to the public.
Task 2: Data Analysis
The contractor will use the dataset of collated measurements from Task 1 to conduct the following five analyses:
- characterize the local ambient aerosol composition, and compare this with previous ambient measurement campaigns in Los Angeles (e.g., CalNex-2010, LAAQS-2020) to understand how the composition has changed over the past decade;
- quantify the magnitude of individual organic aerosol (OA) sources (e.g., cooking emissions) and the relative magnitude of primary vs. secondary emissions (primary organic aerosol (POA) versus secondary organic aerosol (SOA)) using use PMF or similar analysis to decompose the measured OA into several factors (hydrocarbon-like OA, cooking-influenced OA, semivolatile oxygenated OA, regional less volatile oxygenated OA, and a local factor);
- assess the dependence of aerosol mass loading and composition on meteorological factors, such as temperature and relative humidity;
- quantify the inorganic and organic fractions of measured nitrate aerosol and determine the temporal trends on oxidant levels and evaluate the possible changing nighttime chemistry and implications of future NOx reductions on PM formation; and
- assess the relative role of changing emissions, oxidation chemistries, and oxidant concentrations on past and future trends in local organic PM concentrations using a detailed model of local PM formation.
Task 3: Conduct Meetings and Disseminate Scientific Findings
The contractor will present scientific findings from ongoing work at science team meetings, scientific conferences and quarterly CARB update meetings during the project. In addition, the contractor will present findings at two data meetings: the first meeting will center on final data quality, data archiving procedures, and a presentation of preliminary findings; the second meeting will be a presentation of finalized insights into PM sources in the SoCAB.
Results from this project will provide up-to-date datasets and detailed analyses that are needed to improve the understanding of current and future PM contributors in the SoCAB. This information is critical for the development of regulatory policies that can reduce PM concentrations in the SoCAB and bring it into compliance with PM2.5 NAAQS.
The contractor will deliver to CARB the following:
At Beginning of Contract
- Work with CARB staff at the beginning of the project to create a 1-page plain-language outreach deliverable for public describing the project’s goals, process, and planned deliverables (available in multiple languages, template will be provided)
During Active Contract Period
- Quarterly Progress Reports and conference calls; The progress reports will include plain-language summaries that can be posted publicly. A progress report template will be provided
- Consultation calls with CARB and key stakeholders
Prior to Contract Close
- Final data products created under this contract include all data, analyses and analytical tools generated through the course of this project
- Draft final report
- Include a plain language summary in draft final report
- Include an equity implications section in draft final report
- Work with CARB to create plain-language outreach deliverables for public summarizing results and impact of project (available in multiple languages)
- Final Report and virtual or in-person seminar
- Peer reviewed publications should be publicly available (please budget for this expense; submission-ready publications shall be reviewed by CARB staff).
Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff.
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 24 months from the start date. The estimated budget for this project is $200,000.
- Responsiveness to the Goals and Objectives Outlined in the Proposal Solicitation(15 points) Proposers should demonstrate a clear understanding of the policy objectives and research needs that CARB seeks to address with this project, and should convey their knowledge of the subject. The proposal should spell out, in adequate detail, exactly what the Proposer proposes to do to satisfy the requirements of the Solicitation. The draft proposal must propose work that would satisfy the objective(s) stated in the Research Solicitation: The objective of this research is to analyze recently collected air quality data from an intensive field campaign, such as the 2021 ReEvaluation of California Air Pollution (RECAP-CA), and assess the relative role of changing emissions (including volatile chemical products), atmospheric chemistries, and oxidant concentrations on past and future organic PM concentrations in the South Coast Air Basin. These analyses will assist in the development of optimal regulatory policies critical for attaining compliance with the federal annual PM2.5 standards.
- POLICY RELEVANCE/BENEFITS TO THE STATE(10 points) – Does the proposal describe how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to help CARB accomplish its mission? The California Air Resources Board is required by Federal Clean Air Act to develop State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to achieve National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter (PM).
- PREVIOUS WORK (15 points) – Do the researchers have relevant experience in this area? Is the team composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts? Do they discuss how they will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB, other state agencies, and any other organizations you believe are appropriate (e.g. the U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Energy)? Does the team bring in new talent that has not worked with CARB previously? Researchers new to CARB are encouraged to apply. Multidisciplinary teams and/or researchers from smaller universities are also encouraged to apply. 5 points will be reserved for project teams that meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The project team is multi-disciplinary
- The project team members come from various universities or include non-academic institutions or community-based organizations
- The project team includes one or more members, contributing significantly to the project (i.e. a principle investigator, co-principle investigator or co-investigator, contributing 25% or more of their time to the project) who have not worked with CARB in the past 5 years.
- TECHNICAL MERIT (25 points) - Describe the submission's technical strengths and/or weaknesses. Proposers should demonstrate the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the actual work. Please factor in how well the draft proposal describes these areas:
- Specifics of how data QA/QC will be performed and how the Data Archive will be constructed;
- Methodological and technical details for Task 2 of the SOW, specifically how well subtasks 1-5 are addressed in the description of work.
- In prioritizing the scoring, the level of description for three subtopics of task 2 should be singled out: Subtask 2a – characterization of aerosol composition and diurnal patterns and comparisons with historical datasets (especially, California Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change (CalNex 2010)); and subtask 2b – PMF analysis of organic aerosol with an emphasis on source/aging contributions; and subtask 2e – determination of the relative role of changing emissions, oxidation chemistries, oxidant concentrations on past and future organic PM concentrations using combined datasets and a detailed zero-dimensional model of local organic PM formation.
- LEVEL AND QUALITY OF EFFORT TO BE PROVIDED(15 points) – Does the proposal allocate time and resources in such a way that the objectives of the study will be met? Is supervision and oversight adequate for ensuring that the project will remain on schedule? Is the distribution of workload appropriate for activities such as research, evaluation and analysis, data reduction, computer simulation, report preparation, meetings, and travel?
- COST EFFECTIVENESS (20 points) - Does the cost seem appropriate for the proposed work? Does the proposed work seem feasible within the requested budget? Projects that provide co-funding should be evaluated more favorably.