Project Members

  • Joanna Casey (Graduate Student, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Bryce Goldstein (Undergraduate Student, Humboldt State University)
  • Victoria Danner (BS, Mechanical Engineering)
  • Mike Hannigan (Professor, Mechanical Engineering)


figure showing well concentration is high in colorado

Detailed Summary

Project Dates:  
DJ Basin: Summer of 2014, Summer of 2015, Winter and Spring of 2016
SJ Basin: Spring and Summer of 2015

In recent years, aided by the advent of horizontal drilling used in conjunction with hydraulic fracturing, oil and gas production in basins around the United States has increased significantly.   A group of studies was conducted in two oil and gas basins over several years.  The aim of these studies is to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of several atmospheric trace gases that can be influenced by oil and gas extraction including methane, ozone, and carbon dioxide.  Eight to ten air quality monitors were distributed across the Denver Julesburg Basin in Northeast Colorado, and the San Juan Basin, which stretches from Southwest Colorado into Northwest New Mexico in Four Corners Region.  Spatial variability in ozone is observed across each basin.  The presence of dynamic short-term trends observed in the mole fraction of methane and carbon dioxide indicate the extent to which each site is uniquely impacted by local emission sources.  Diurnal trends of these two constituents lead toward a better understanding of local pooling of emissions that can be influenced by topography, the planetary boundary layer height, atmospheric stability, as well as the composition and flux of local and regional emissions sources.

Other Partners

  • NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • INSTAAR (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research)
  • NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research)
  • CDPHE (Department of Public Health and Environment) 
  • Fort Lewis College
  • NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act)
  • New Mexico Air Quality Bureau

Project Funding

  • NSF:  Air Water Gas Sustainability Research Network (National Science Foundation)