Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Alan Czarnetzki


Boundary layer parameters were analyzed for high impact fine-particulate pollution days for the years 2006 through 2009 in Potosi, Wisconsin. Potosi has seen recent 24-hour PM2.s design values at or near the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) of 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Every sampling date in the years 2006 through 2009 with a 24- hour PM2.5 particulate concentration above the year's trend line was studied as were the cleanest 10 days of each year. In particular, composite upper air profiles were constructed using observations from the nearby radiosonde stations, surface and S00mb weather maps were retrieved, the virtual potential temperature profiles were calculated and back trajectories were modeled. The most noticeable relationships between the atmospheric conditions and high fine-particulate concentrations were found to be with the resultant wind direction, temperature inversions at or near the surface and the atmospheric stability as determined by the virtual potential temperature profile. The dirtiest cases studied occurred with resultant wind direction coming largely from the south partnered with a noticeably strong temperature inversion off the surface. The average virtual potential temperature profile for each year studied consistently showed a stable atmosphere with no noticeable mixed layer for the dirtiest days. Therefore, on days with high average PM2.5 concentrations, the atmosphere resists vertical mixing and produces greater concentrations at the surface.

Year of Submission



Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (41 pages)