Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015CA335B

Characterizing the Impact of Salton Sea Water Management and Restoration Practices on Regional Air Quality

Institute: California
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $14,074 Total Non-Federal Funds: $6,470

Principal Investigators: Roya Bahreini

Abstract: Salton Sea, the largest lake in Southern California, serves as a natural habitat for a variety of wildlife. Without a natural input of water, water quantity and quality in the lake critically depend on those of agricultural recycled water. Due to water conservation, recycling, and transfers, quantity of water input to the lake is decreasing and thus water in shallow areas is receding, exposing the playa underneath. Newly exposed playa with soft-salt crust are demonstrated to be highly emissive for dust, especially during winter months with larger temperature fluctuations. An additional source of particulate matter is a concern for this air basin since it currently exceeds California or National Ambient Air Quality standards of particulate matter. In this work, we propose to collect aerosol particles, ranging in size from <0.1 m to 10 m, onto filter samples, for offline analysis of chemical composition (trace metals, salt, and crustal components) by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Filter measurements will be collected twice daily for 7 days at Salton City, located on the southwestern shore of Salton Sea, and in summer and winter months to determine the impact of temperature and humidity on contribution of playa dust to total particulate matter. Playa and dry wash samples from the shores around Salton Sea will also be collected to establish chemical signatures for these sources. Enrichment factors of different elements will be calculated and used to determine contribution of different dust sources to the observed species.