Sunday, 22 January 2012
Millersville University's Role in DISCOVER-AQ
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Monitoring air quality in heavily populated areas has become more of a necessity due to increased health risks. Remote sensing from newly implemented satellites is a plausible method to improve air quality forecasts and models. In order to ensure the reliability of this data, airborne missions are employed to provide information about the atmosphere above 1000 feet, leaving the important lower boundary layer between the surface and the lowest aircraft levels uncharacterized. To fill this measurement gap, Millersville University was provided the opportunity to participate in NASA's research project, DISCOVER-AQ (Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality). During July 2011, tethered balloon profiles were obtained to provide detailed vertical distribution of meteorological variables and air quality. Specifically, the aerostat carried aloft instruments to measure air temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction, Ozone, NO, and NOx concentrations. In addition, the Millersville facility provided 1 Hz time series of surface fluxes of momentum, sensible heat, water vapor, carbon dioxide and net radiation with a flux tower, EPA criteria gases, time-height series of wind and virtual temperature using an acoustic sodar with RASS, and boundary layer structure using a micropulse LiDAR. This poster reports on some of the preliminary results of the project and describes the involvement and responsibilities of undergraduates in a comprehensive field study of pollution transport.