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Science Introduction

Meeting Society's Needs: The Aim of the 2006 Study

The challenge of properly managing our atmospheric resources is complex. Improved understanding to inform policy development and implementation is needed in several areas. NOAA has established the Climate and Air Quality programs to address these issues. These comprehensive programs have as one of their foci an improved understanding of the workings of the chemical processes in the atmosphere. Major components in both the Climate and Air Quality programs include laboratory studies, field measurements, and modeling studies. The field studies include long term monitoring, short term limited deployments and intensive field campaigns using multiple platforms and a large array of instruments.

As a part of this overall program in 2006, NOAA will help lead a major multiinstitutional intensive field program that will focus on investigating important scientific questions that are common to both climate and air quality. The NOAA components of the program are the Texas Air Quality Study (TexAQS) and the Gulf of Mexico Atmospheric Composition and Climate Study (GoMACCS). This intensive field study will focus on providing a better understanding of the sources and atmospheric processes responsible for the formation and distribution of ozone and aerosols in the atmosphere and the influence that these species have on the radiative forcing of climate regionally and globally, as well as, their impact on human health and regional haze. The study area will be Texas and the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.

The NOAA Climate Change Focus in 2006 - GoMACCS, the NOAA climate change component of this field program, will characterize marine/continental chemical and meteorological processes over Texas and the Gulf of Mexico in order to improve the simulation of the radiative forcing of climate change by lower-atmosphere ozone and aerosols. In addition to clear-sky radiative effects, GoMACCS will investigate the influence of aerosols on cloud properties and the role of clouds in chemical transformation.

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The NOAA Air Quality Focus in 2006 - TexAQS 2006, the NOAA air quality component of this field experiment, will investigate the sources and processes that are responsible for photochemical pollution and regional haze during the summertime in Texas. Figure 1 indicates the counties in Texas that are experiencing air quality problems associated with this ozone. In addition, there is growing concern that additional counties in the state may be facing similar issues in the near future. The 2006 study will provide information on the sources of the ozone and aerosols precursors and processes responsible for the formation and distribution of ozone and aerosols in the state.

The focus of the study will be the transport of ozone and ozone precursors within the state and the impact of the long-range transport of ozone or its precursors into (and out of?) the state. In this regard, special attention will be paid to nighttime chemistry and transport. The study will also investigate how the various urban, industrial and natural sources of aerosols and aerosol precursors within the state and the transport of aerosols from outside the state contribute to the regional haze that is observed in the state.