How does natural gas fracking contribute to air pollution?

Becky Alexander | Maria Zatko | SS

University of Washington

This project was funded on:
23 January 2014
Regions of natural gas fracking in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado often experience high concentrations of ground-level ozone, which has severe impacts on respiratory health. But where does this ozone come from? Our project will try to answer this question in Utah's Uintah Basin. Understanding the causes of high ozone levels is essential for regulators to design effective strategies to improve local air quality.


Budget Overview

The funds will be used to pay for Maria's travel to
collect field samples. The remainder will be for supplies for sample collection and laboratory analysis.

Meet the Researcher


Becky Alexander is a professor at the University of Washington and an expert in atmospheric chemistry and air quality. Her research group develops and utilizes cutting edge techniques in isotope measurements to solve problems in atmospheric chemistry and chemistry-climate interactions. Learn more about Becky's research group here and her laboratory facilities here. Becky is originally from Colorado and earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego.

Maria Zatko is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. Maria will be collecting and analyzing the samples in this field campaign, and this project will be part of her Ph.D. dissertation. Maria is originally from Massachusetts and earned her B.S. in Meteorology from Penn State University.


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A final technical project report will document the role of snow as a source of nitrogen oxides in Utah's Uintah Basin, and will be submitted to a scientific journal for review and publication. The paper will be completed within one year of the project start date and will be submitted to an open access journal.

We will update donors on the progress of the field campaign via our blog and twitter. We will publish our results in an open access journal and acknowledge all donors who wish to be acknowledged in the publication.

We need to know the relative importance of the role of natural versus human activities for the wintertime ozone problem in western mountain states in order to design effective strategies for cleaner air in these regions. Please help us collect this critical data!

Project Backers

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