PSD 2006 Texas Air Quality Study Deployment


August 7, 2006

hazy day in Houston, TX The NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), Physical Sciences Division (PSD) has deployed a variety of meteorological instruments for the 2006 Texas Air Quality Study (TexAQS). From August through September 2006, PSD will collect a variety of upper-air data consisting of wind and temperature profiles and integrated water vapor. The wind profiles collected on an hourly basis are used in an internet-based tool to calculate particle trajectories that will support aircraft mission planning and to help scientists conduct source-receptor studies. Surface meteorological data collected at each of the upper-air sites consists of pressure, temperature, humidity, radiation, and rainfall. ESRL-PSD will also conduct tower-based turbulence measurements at two sites characterized by different land use (old growth forest and agriculture/grassland). These measurements will be used to evaluate the surface and boundary-layer schemes used in mesoscale models. Laser instruments at these sites will measure the instance of cloud to help interpret changes in the surface energy budget. The datasets collected by ESRL-PSD will be used to help understand the atmospheric processes responsible for the formation and distribution of ozone and aerosols in the atmosphere, their influence on regional and global climate, as well as their impact on human health and regional haze. During the same period, PSD and the ESRL Chemical Sciences Division will be collecting complementary shipboard measurements on board the Research Vessel Ronald H. Brown. PSD shipboard instrumentation includes a wind profiler, a radiosonde system, and an air-sea interaction turbulence package.

Background:
As stated on the University of Texas' TexAQS web site, "Reducing air pollution is one of the most pressing public policy challenges facing the State of Texas. Failure to meet federal air quality mandates will result in significant public health consequences and hundreds of billions of dollars in lost economic development for Texas." This is the third air quality study the state of Texas has performed since 1990. The current study is being conducted over the period May 2005 - September 2006.

Significance:
Through better understanding of the meteorological processes influencing air quality, how these processes differ over water and land, and the chemical make-up and transport of pollutants, NOAA researchers are providing valuable input for formulation of effective and efficient approaches to improve air quality. These activities support NOAA's mission goal of serving society's needs for weather and water information.

(Photo courtesy of University of Texas, TexAQS web site.)

Contact: Allen White More Information: PSD's TexAQS Page