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The Ongoing Challenge of Managing Carbon Monoxide Pollution in Fairbanks, Alaska: Interim Report
The days currently most susceptible to high CO concentrations in Fairbanks are not the coldest days. Meteorological conditions in Fairbanks lead to exceedances of the CO health standard primarily when the ambient temperatures typically are −20 to 20°F. The combination of human behavior and motor-vehicle technology further narrows the primary temperatures of concern to 0–20°F. Air quality planning and controls should focus on such days. The committee has identified a number of options available to the borough and Alaska to reduce CO emissions further. Among them, improving the vehicle I/M program has high priority, as does an enhanced plug-in program. Use of low-sulfur fuel would also help. An enhanced alert-day program might provide needed reductions on critical days. And there is a need to inform and educate the community better about the health effects of exposure to air pollutants and ways to improve air quality.
Improved monitoring and characterization of CO concentrations in the area are needed. Modeling CO in the borough is a serious challenge, but it can be helpful in planning and in forecasting possible exceedance days. For now, a simple box model is suggested for planning purposes; more sophisticated models either are inappropriate for the conditions or require much more extensive monitoring data. Statistical models can be used, for now, to help in forecasting, but work is needed to improve them. More research with comprehensive models is needed for future application for both forecasting and planning. These more comprehensive models will also require improvements in the emissions inventory, including the nonroad, area, and point sources that contribute to high-CO episodes.