Air Quality Data Summit

From Federation of Earth Science Information Partners
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Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Research Triangle Park, NC 27711
Conference Room C113
February 12 – 13, 2008


To Bring together those organizations and individuals with key roles in retrieving, storing, disseminating and analyzing air quality data in order to explore efficient means of leveraging the numerous operations underway, and to assist EPA/OAQPS in defining its role in the larger air quality data community.


  1. Develop an understanding of various, related air quality data processing programs/systems.
  2. Based on 1, consider developing a community-wide strategy that enhances communications across these systems by identifying efficiencies, minimizing redundancies, and addressing user defined needs.
  3. Provide guidance to EPA/OAQPS regarding the role of AirQuest to work interactively with these systems and to service broader community needs.


Note: This meeting is being driven by a number of events and discussions over the last five years that include:

  • perceived frustration and/or misunderstanding in accessing EPA data bases,
  • development of user friendly air quality data processing tools by Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs), the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and other organizations
  • enhanced emphasis on inter agency collaboration through venues such as GEOSS
  • elevated interest in using disparate sources of air quality observations (e.g., surface and satellite data), emissions and model results in conducting assessments
  • Recognition of incorporating multiple spatial scales, and therefore a variety of information sources, to address increasing importance of hemispheric transport and climate-air quality interactions, and
  • Recommendations from EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee’s subcommittee on monitoring encouraging EPA to foster greater access and analysis of air quality data bases.

One of the objectives of the meeting is to inform investments by EPA under the Advanced Monitoring Initiative. AMI began in FY06 to demonstrate the potential of a Global Earth Observations System of System. In FY06 and FY07, a series of pilot projects were funded. For FY08, the funding has been allocated to four integrative themes: air quality, water quality, land use/multi-media, and information technology. The current proposal for the FY08 air theme is found here, This proposal calls for the development of three "operational use cases" (operational systems that support data access, integration, analysis, and visualization for specific decision making contexts) in the areas of model evaluation and intercomparison, air quality "re-analysis," and emission inventories. Input from the Summit will help to refine this proposal and develop a specific plan for spending the FY08 funds. - Terry Keating

Draft Agenda (010708)

Day 1
(Guidance on the scope and depth of overview talks for this session is needed) see Agenda Design
8:00am Welcome - Wayland
8:10am Introduction of Participants - All
8:20am Goals and organization - Scheffe
8:40am Inventory of Data Systems (8min. ea.) - Dimmick/Keating

10:00am Break

10:20am Inventory of Data Processing Centers (10 min. ea) - Lorang

12:00pm Range of Users/Clients & Discussion

12:15pm Lunch

1:15pm Breakout Sessions 1: see Breakout Sessions: Objectives & Questions

  • Group A1 – Public Health & Ecological Assessment - Pun/Lear
  • Group B1 – Air Quality Forecasting and Reanalysis for Assessment - Dye/Gilroy
  • Group C1 - Model/Emissions Evaluation - Keating/Gilliland
  • Group D1 - Air Quality Characterization for Trends and Accountability - Poirot/Frank

3:15pm Break

3:30pm Report out from each group (20min. ea.)

  • Group A1
  • Group B1
  • Group C1
  • Group D1

4:50pm Group Discussion

5:15pm Adjourn

NOTE: Breakout Sessions 1 & 2 can be reversed with minor changes to times.

Day 2
8:00am Review of Breakout Session 1 and logistics for 2nd breakout session - Sweeny

8:15am Breakout Sessions 2 (with facilitators): see Breakout Sessions: Objectives & Questions

  • Group A2 - Enabling Data Access - Ross
  • Group B2 - Data Processing and Integration - Willis
  • Group C2 - Visualization / Analysis - Engel-Cox

10:15am Break

10:30am Report out from each group (20min. ea.)

  • Group A2
  • Group B2
  • Group C2

11:30am Group Discussion

12:00pm Lunch

1:00pm Sustainability - Group Discussion - Gilroy/Lamason

  • (public access / tech support / budgets)

1:30pm Group Discussion - Sweeny

  • Tying pieces together
    • (Raw data -> Processing Centers <- Enhanced/additional processing)
  • Group recommendations
  • Role of GEOSS and EPA OEI

3:00pm Next Steps - Wayland/Scheffe

3:15pm Meeting Adjourn


Invited Participants to Air Quality Data Summit -- as of 010708 --

George Allen State/Local

Jay Al-Saadi NASA

Janet Cakir* OAQPS

Jim Closs NASA

Ken Demergian University

Phil Dickerson* OAQPS

Fred Dimmick* ORD

Ben Domenico University

Tim Dye* Contractor

Jill Engel-Cox* Contractor

Stefan Falke* University

Dirk Felton* State/Local

Steve Fine NOAA

Tyler Fox OAQPS

Neil Frank* OAQPS

Lawrence Friedl NASA

Val Garcia ORD

Alice Gilliland*ORD

Mike Gilroy* State/Local

Steve Goranson EPA Region 5

Eric Gray Contractor

Richard Haeuber OAR

Eric Hall ORD

Beth Hassett-Sipple OAQPS

Ray Hoff University (cannot attend)

Les Hook ORNL

Marc Houyoux* OAQPS

Bryan Hubbell OAQPS

Rudy Husar* University

Brad Johns OAQPS

Jerry Johnston OEI

Terry Keating* OAR

Bob Kelly EPA

Donna Kenski State/Local

Ken Knowle State/Local

Shobha Kondragunta NOAA

N. Kumar EPRI (cannot attend)

Bill Lamason OAQPS

Gary Lear* OAR

Sharon Leduc NOAA

Ed Lillis OAQPS

Frank Lindsay* NASA

Phil Lorang* OAQPS

Susan Lundquist OEI

Nick Mangus* OAQPS

David McCabe ORD

Shawn McClure University

Jim Meagher NOAA

Jon Miller* OAQPS

David Mintz OAQPS

Tom Moore State/Local

Heidi Paulsen* OEI

Richard Payton EPA Region 8

Sharon Phillips OAQPS

Marc Pitchford NPS

Rich Poirot* State/Local

Norm Possiel* OAQPS

Betty Pun* Contractor

Tesh Rao OAQPS

Nancy Ritchey NASA

Rebecca Rosen EPA

Tom Rosendahl OAQPS

Melissa Rury OAR

Ted Russell University

Rich Scheffe* OAQPS

Tom Scheitlin OEI

Bret Schichtel* NPS

Donna Schwede* ORD

Beth Schwehr State/Local

Uma Shankar University

Doug Solomon OAQPS

Greg Sunshine Contractor (cannot attend)

Louis Sweeny* Consultant

Jim Szykman* NASA

Joe Tikvart OAQPS

Ambarish Vaidyanathan CDC

Randy Waite OAQPS

Gary Walter* ORD

Chet Wayland* OAQPS

Dick Wertz Consultant

Lewis Weinstock OAQPS

Jeff West ORD

John White OAQPS

Rob Willis* Consultant

Steve Young* OEI

  • Currently listed on the agenda

Summary of Air Quality Data, Data Processing, and Data Analysis Systems

List of Data Systems


The Air Quality System (AQS) is EPA's repository of ambient air quality data. AQS stores data from over 10,000 monitors, 5000 of which are currently active. State, Local and Tribal agencies collect the data and submit it to AQS on a periodic basis.


The Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET) is the nation's primary source for data on dry acidic deposition and rural, ground-level ozone. Operating since 1987, CASTNET is used in conjunction with other national monitoring networks to provide information for evaluating the effectiveness of national emission control strategies. CASTNET consists of over 80 sites across the eastern and western United States and is cooperatively operated and funded with the National Park Service.


AIRNow is a Web site that provides the public with easy access to national air quality information. The Web site was developed by EPA, NOAA, NPS, tribal, state, and local agencies and offers daily forecasts of the air quality index (AQI) which is an index for reporting daily air quality. It also provides real-time AQI conditions for over 300 cities across the U.S. and links to more detailed State and local air quality Web sites.


The Distributed Active Archive Centers (DAAC's) process, archive, document, and distribute data from NASA’s past and current Earth-observing satellites and field measurement programs. Each center serves a specific Earth-system science discipline and provides users with data products, services, and data-handling tools unique to the center's specialty. User services include: assistance in selecting and obtaining data; access to data-handling and visualization tools; notification of data-related news; and technical support and referrals.


See CHIEF for a description of the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) and the emissions modeling framework (EMF).


Visualization Environment for Rich Data Interpretation (VERDI) has been developed as an alternative to PAVE for analyzing the results of CMAQ. This software tool is written in open-source JAVA and is platform independent. VERDI contains most of the functionality of PAVE as well as additional capabilities. In addition to CMAQ outputs, VERDI can also be used to examine data from the Meteorological-Chemistry Input Processor (MCIP) and the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF). A structured reader is included to facilitate development of capabilities for reading other data files. VERDI is intended to be community-based as the source code will be publicly available and user community contributions will be encouraged.


DataFed is Web services-based software that non-intrusively mediates between autonomous, distributed data providers and users. DataFed is designed in accordance with the GEOSS architecture, so that it provides standard interfaces to heterogeneous distributed data, fosters data integration and use with processing services and tools, and collects metadata and user-feedback on datasets. DataFed provides access to over 50 distributed, air-quality relevant datasets which can be explored and analyzed by tools for processing and visualization.


The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) is a consortium of 90+ organizations that collect, interpret and develop applications for remotely sensed Earth observation information. Included in the ESIP network are NASA, NOAA and USGS data centers, research universities, government research laboratories, supercomputing facilities, commercial enterprises, etc. The ESIP Federation is building the Earth Information Exchange, an interface where earth science data, products and tools will be made available. The interface will be a portal that provides access to the information holdings of member organizations through one web-based location and provides a robust marketplace in which the products and services needed to use and understand this information can be readily acquired. The Exchange will be linked to USGS’s Geospatial One Stop portal, NASA’s Earth Science Gateway, the Global Change Master Directory, and the EOS Clearinghouse, integrating much of the available data and information and making it available through one access point.


AirQuest is an integrated air quality database including data from AQS, AIRNow, the emissions inventory, and CMAQ runs. Working in collaboration with the NASA 3D-AQS project, AirQuest also includes data from satellite sensors and ground-based lidar, formatted to be compatible with EPA monitors and with CMAQ. Data can be visualized through the AirQuest GIS system and are compatible with ArcGIS, GoogleEarth, and SAS.


The Visibility Information Exchange Web System (VIEWS) is an online exchange of air quality data, research, and ideas designed to understand the effects of air pollution on visibility and to support the Regional Haze Rule enacted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce regional haze and improve visibility in national parks and wilderness areas.

HEI Air Quality Database

The HEI Air Quality Database focuses on levels of PM2.5 components and gaseous pollutants at and near sites in the EPA's PM2.5 Chemical Speciation Trends Network (STN) and State, Local and Tribal air monitoring stations (SLAMS). The Database is available to investigators interested in using the information for studies on air quality and health. Currently, the Database contains information on speciated PM components and gaseous pollutants at these sites for the years 2000-2006 and it is anticipated that the information will be updated regularly over the next 1-2 years.


3D-AQS is incorporating a range of remote sensing data including lidar profiles (AIRS, MODIS, OMI, GOES, CALIPSO, etc) to expand AQS into a three-dimensional system that provides a better assessment of pollutants distribution in the horizontal and the vertical.


Giovanni stands for the "Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC) Interactive Online Visualization ANd Analysis Infrastructure." It is a Web-based application developed by GES DISC that provides a simple and intuitive way to visualize, analyze, and access vast amounts of Earth science remote sensing data without having to download the data.


The Remote Sensing Information Gateway (RSIG) provides a way for users to get the multi-terabyte, environmental dataset they want via an interactive, Web browser-based application. With RSIG users are able to download and parse files (environmental data and models) in minutes, and to integrate selected datasets into a unified visualization.

Environmental Geoweb

Environmental Geoweb involves geospatial technologies for accessing and visualization of earth science information (focus on satellite data and “layering” capability).

Data Provider Conundrum

To be provided.

[note: as security test, an anonymous account was created and this edit inserted.]


Keating: EPA Air Quality GEO Plan

IGACO Theme Report

Air Quality Assessment and Forecast System: Near-Term Opportunity Plan

Scheffe: Perspectives on Measurement Systems. See File:Measurementsall.pdf