Integration of AQ Observation Systems:Information gaps for addressing the challenges

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)
Links to: Air Quality Cluster > CENR Monitoring Strategy

This section, relying on the catalogue and consensus “expert” judgment and data requirement emerging from sections 3 and 4 would list the important observation needs that add specific value toward integrating systems across agencies and across spatial scales (horizontal and vertical) which in turn enhances our ability to address key national objectives.

Examples of important observation gaps:

Vertical profiles of aerosols and ozone. By themselves these data are useful for developing conceptual models of pollution episodes and diagnosing air quality model behavior. However, those arguments historically have not been compelling enough to support routine operations such as the REALM Lidar network proposal. What has changed is greater recognition of the important role vertical profile information plays in connecting surface based point information (e.g., AQS, AIRNOW) with satellite derived total column data offering the potential for previously unavailable observational coverage of broad spatial extent, as well as the emergence of numerical air quality forecasting that benefits from these data..

Trace gas multiple pollutant measurement sites (NCORE L2). Although NCORE L2 sites are a key part of EPA’s National Monitoring Strategy included in the proposed new monitoring rule, cutbacks in Grants to State and local agencies jeopardize implementation of these sites. The NCORE L2 sites provide an integrating element to larger atmospheric characterization programs (e.g., L2 sites measure similar species proposed in IGOS/IGACO, and are sited for broad regional/urban area scales consistent with model evaluation needs,…).

Sentinel sites for long range transport. The existing NOAA and University supported sites designed to capture background and long range transported air masses have uncertain funding futures and generally have evolved from opportunistic events that would be buoyed by additional attention on the assessment needs regarding hemispherical scale transport (in- and out-flow). Important species (e.g., dry Hg) are missing from some sites and important locations (e.g., North (out) and South (in) Atlantic Coast) should be established in coordination with existing LRTAP and ITAP efforts.

[part of needs…Building a multiple scale, multiple media, multiple pollutant, multiple media bidirectional climate-environmental assessment system.

The answer to all of our needs… The scientific rationale for integrating observation systems is based on the fact that so many interactions across these dimensions (space, composition, media) impact in an intra- and inter-dimensional manner.

e.g.: spatially (hemispherical transport impacts regional and local air chemistry, and in turn regional/local contributions add to regional/global mix)

composition. Atmospheric chemistry links aerosols, oxidants and HAPs..

Media. Air deposits on watersheds, water/land-air exchange impacts air

Climate-air quality…

other examples….

[note, this topic would not constitute a section in a report, but it underlies the longer term rationale for an integration effort. Obviously, such a discussion would include GEOSS and whole Earth system models, and probably should move below as part of the GEOSS discussion.]