Overview of the SHARP campaign: Motivation, design, and major outcomes
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2014. American Geophysical Union. All rights reserved. The Study of Houston Atmospheric Radical Precursors (SHARP) was a field campaign developed by the Houston Advanced Research Center on behalf of the Texas Environmental Research Consortium. SHARP capitalized on previous research associated with the Second Texas Air Quality Study and the development of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) ozone nonattainment area. These earlier studies pointed to an apparent deficit in ozone production in the SIP attainment demonstration model despite the enhancement of simulated emissions of highly reactive volatile organic compounds in accordance with the findings of the original Texas Air Quality Study in 2000. The scientific hypothesis underlying the SHARP campaign was that there are significant undercounted primary and secondary sources of the radical precursors, formaldehyde, and nitrous acid, in both heavily industrialized and more typical urban areas of Houston. These sources, if properly taken into account, could increase the production of ozone in the SIP model and the simulated efficacy of control strategies designed to bring the HGB area into ozone attainment. This overview summarizes the precursor studies and motivations behind SHARP, as well as the overall experimental design and major findings of the 2009 field campaign. These findings include significant combustion sources of formaldehyde at levels greater than accounted for in current point source emission inventories; the underestimation of formaldehyde and nitrous acid emissions, as well as CO/NOx and NO2/NOx ratios, by mobile source models; and the enhancement of nitrous acid by atmospheric organic aerosol.