GEOSS AIP Pilot - Initial Scenario

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GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot: Air Quality Scenario Development

(This page is based on the template provided by GEOSS Architecture Workgroup.)
Initial Scenario developed by John White, EPA


Provide a summary of the scenario and the community that the scenario supports.

Wildfire events can cause extraordinary damage to public and private property along with serious health effects to emergency personnel and the general public. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation and man-made structures. Smoke can harm the eyes, irritate the respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. Low visibility in smoke events can be a significant hazard for transportation, and can hamper firefighting. Smoke events can occur anywhere and affect any community. Smoke can be transported long distances from the originating fire and can affect people hundreds and even thousands of kilometers away.

During such events local officials and decision-makers must be provided with the information and data they need to adequately communicate health risks and precautions to the public. To properly respond and issue guidance, decision-makers need straight-forward access to information. Such information includes air quality monitoring and forecast information, meteorological, satellite, and geographical data. The media also plays an important role in getting information to the public about hazardous air quality conditions and the forecast. Providing timely information and imagery is very helpful for effective use of the media.

Identify the specific decisions to be made.

  • Identify existing data sources (air quality networks, meteorological (current observations and forecasted), applicable satellite measurements, geographical context)
  • What, When, and Where to monitor pollutants (depending upon existing air quality network surrounding the wildfire event)
  • Understanding of forecasts (air quality and meteorology)
  • Understanding of Public Health Action Levels during an emergency
  • Issuing Public Advisories
  • Behavioral changes due to poor Air Quality: staying indoors, etc.

(Another take on Decisions to be made by Rhusar, don't hesitate to hack this):
Key decision makers during a smoke event include the Public, AQ Managers and Scientists. Each group (1) makes different decisions, (2) requires separate alert mechanism, (3) different information suitable to make the decisions, and (4) operates on different times scales. The broad 'public' group drives the need for real-time data.

  • Public
    • Personal Decisions - Go to baseball game?; Alert from TV?; Bad smoke this afternoon?; Near-real-time, forecast
    • Public Health Decisions - Asthmatics beware. American Lung Assoc., alerting news media; semi-quantitative surface concentration; Near-real-time
    • Public Safety Decisions - Road, aviation visibility; Alert from DOT, FAA; Visibility, spatial extent; Near-real-time, forecast
  • Air Quality Managers
    • State AQ Managers - Is this an Exceptional Event? Alert from EPA; Source, transport, space-time pattern; Near-real-time, Post analysis
    • State-Federal AQ Managers - Inter-Regional/National/Continental transport? Science Observers; Spatio-temporal pattern, transport; Post Analysis
  • Atmospheric Scientists
    • Smoke Emission; How does one estimate smoke emission? Real-time data analysis/modeling; Surface, satellite, other obs & diagnostic modeling; Near-real-time, forecast
    • Transport; Smoke elevation/dispersion; Real-time data analysis/modeling; Surface, satellite, other obs & diagnostic; forecast
    • Kinetics: Chemical kinetics, cloud interaction; Real-time data analysis/modeling; Surface, satellite, other obs & diagnostic; Post Analysis

Provide references for additional information.

White paper on EPA / AirNow actions / Lessons learned in 2007 Wildfire

Context and pre-conditions

Identify the actors in the scenario. Actors are any persons involved in the scenario.

The actors in the smoke scenario include data/information providers, data processors and specialists to deliver tailored information products to the public, AQ managers and scientists. A key set of actors are the actual decision makers ...who interact with the ??.... (this needs work Rhusar)

  • National Environmental agency
  • National Meteorological agency
  • National Health agency (if separate from National Environmental agency)
  • National Land Management agency
  • National Space agency
  • Local Environmental agencies
  • Local emergency personnel
  • Consulting companies
  • GEOSS Portal integrator? (took from Energy scenario)
  • Local, Regional and National media (print, online, broadcast)
  • Public

List, at a summary level, the specific information assumed to be available before the scenario begins.

The behavior of smoke depends on many factors, including the fire’s size and location, the topography of the area and the weather. Smoke (PM2.5) from large wildland fires can be transported hundreds or thousands of kilometers to a forecast region. Smoke events can increase the background levels of PM2.5, thus combining transported PM2.5 with locally-generated PM2.5 to produce a more severe episode. Depending on concentrations, this transported PM2.5 could trigger an exception event and/or degrade visibility.

Air quality forecasts provide the public with air quality information with which they can make daily lifestyle decisions to protect their health. This information allows people to take precautionary measures to avoid or limit their exposure to unhealthy levels of air quality. Pre-determined safe / unhealthy / hazardous levels of pollutants (from federal/national air quality standards such as the United States NAAQS, Threshold Limit Values (TLVs), etc) and standard descriptions of hazards and effects from PM2.5 help provide context for decision-makers and the public from PM2.5 concentrations or a standardized health index such as the Air Quality Index.

Information available before scenario begins (via GEOSS portals)

  • Meteorological data
    • Observed and forecasted surface meteorological data (such as temperature, surface wind speed and direction, humidity)
    • Observed and forecasted aloft large-scale (1000 km or more) atmospheric parameters (such as 850 and 500 millibar heights, temperature, wind speed, dew point)
    • HYSPLIT trajectories (NAM/NDAS Models (40km) - forward trajectories can be used to estimate the transport direction and potential time the smoke or dust might enter a particular forecast region
  • Geographical data
    • land use for knowing affected and forecast areas
    • demographic data for understanding impacted population: different age groups have different sensitivities to poor AQ, for example
    • fuel type - important input for smoke models BlueSky RAINS
  • Air Quality information
    • Particle pollution ground observations (for United States and Canada, EEA?)
    • Air quality forecasts for particle pollution areas (for United States, AIRNow, Canada, Europe – EEA)
    • Established air quality programs which issue public alerts
  • Air Quality Numerical Forecast Models?
  • Satellite data
    • graphical satellite data, (true color and/or aerosol optical depth (AOD) imagery) MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (MODIS instrument on board the Terra or Aqua satellite)
    • GOES Aerosol and Smoke Product (GASP). Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite East (GOES-12) NOAA Satellite and Information Service
    • NOAA fire locations - Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product
    • National Interagency Fire Center with real-time and historical fire data and statistics
    • National Weather Service Fire Weather
    • NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory – Wildfire/Forest Fire Smoke Forecasting
    • Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) sensor on NASA's Terra satellite (22-km horizontal resolution) measurements in the lower part of the atmosphere - global
    • Calipso CALIOP aerosol product
    • Aura OMI NO2
  • Specific processing
    • collection / QC of ambient air quality data by an air quality data management system
    • local or regional air quality forecast generated by numerical model (requiring air quality and meteorological data) or human forecaster
    • integrating air quality data, forecasts with available satellite data products
      • Giovanni: Correlations between AOD and PM2.5 (correlation maps, scatter plots, image loops); CALIOP aerosol flag to confirm aerosols above boundary layer
    • develop context and understanding of air quality conditions and forecasts for the event
    • develop and issue communication piece to decision-makers and/or public
    • distribute data/information through established channels
  • GUI development and GEOSS portal integration
    • Exploit Web service description (GEOSS portal integrator)
    • Build GUI (GEOSS portal integrator)
    • map / image production for release to media, public
    • distribute data/information/graphics
    • ?

List, at a summary level, the specific processing and collaboration functionality assumed needed in the scenario.

  • Convenient functionality to register air quality-relevant components in the GEOSS Registry
  • GEOSS-compatible air quality portal used and maintained by the Air Quality Community of Practice
  • Identification and accessing the relevant monitoring data (surface, upper air and satellite) using the publish-find-bind SOA protocol
  • Data sharing and integration functionality including (1) registry/catalog for finding resources (2) standard-based access to spatio-temporal data and metadata, workflow software for integrating Service Components
  • Harvesting the data sources from "other" agencies/organizations, Public contributions of first-hand reports, images, videos...
  • A workspace to support the activities of the Air Quality Community of Practice, including communal resources for air quality assessment, and real-time event analysis.
  • Ability to produce air quality assessment and near-real-time reports that characterize air quality for scientific, air quality management and public users.

Scenario Events

Elaborate the steps that result in the creation of decision support products developed in collaboration by the actors.

Very rough, hack it! Pilot Preparation

  1. Prepare initial air quality scenario and present it at the AIP workshop, Feb. 2008
  2. Assess the international responses to the Call for Participation (CFP)
  3. Encourage and facilitate the registration of the offered GEOSS components

Detailed Scenario and Pilot Development

  1. Develop detailed air quality scenario
  2. Design & test the interoperability of components

Pilot Execution

  1. Perform air quality assessment scenario
  2. Perform air quality event scenario

Transition to Post-Pilot Networking

  1. Solidify 'core' air quality network
  2. Incorporate Pilot data/information and technologies/methods into 'real' DSS activities

Use the table to identify the main sequence of events in the scenario, including alternative branch steps.

Note: This sequence needs to be adapted to the new combined scenarios. Needs work.

  1. Designated and voluntary observers will use a 'virtual observatory' to monitor the current aerosol 'weather' situation over their region of interest (e.g. North America, Central America, Europe, Asia? - do we need to spell out regions? ).
  2. The observers scan the spatial, temporal aerosol pattern on the real-time satellite images, surface monitors, as well as monitoring the electronic media and private citizen reports.
  3. Once an ‘interesting’ smoke event appears, the observers explore the pattern of other peripheral data sources such as weather pattern, trajectories and other monitors to ascertain the emergence of a smoke event.
  4. Throughout the event’s emergence, the observers share their observations and views on a shared virtual workspace, including the the deliberations whether to issue alert(s).
  5. Using standardized Common Notification Protocol), alert(s) are issued to different groups (Public, Regulatory, Science - see) that may need to act or who are interested in observing/participating in smoke monitoring or response action action.
  6. In response to the alert, more intense monitoring and just-in-time analysis is initiated. This includes additional sampling, high resolution targeted smoke source/dispersion modeling, harvesting of other real-time data resources etc.
  7. As the smoke event evolves, a virtual workgroup of analysts summarizes the smoke situation, including sources, transport, aerosol pattern, forecast and impact in a manner suitable for multiple user communities, Public, Regulatory and Science.
  8. Based on those reports and other input, during the smoke event, a multiplicity of decisions and actions are executed by Public, Regulatory and Scientific decision makers.
  9. Following the smoke event, the event is evaluated for its impact, consequences and possibly for detailed retrospective analysis.

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