The Plymouth State University meteorology faculty, along with six, senior meteorology students, are working around the clock to provide 24 hour forecasts, in 12 hour increments, to support an international air quality study.
Scheduled through August, PSU Meteorology Professor James Koermer says the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT) is the world’s largest air quality study of which PSU is one of 100 partners. “We are providing both short and long term forecasts in support of the research being done by air chemists to track pollution from source regions, across New England and over to Europe,” states Koermer. “Studies will focus on what natural chemical reactions are occurring to affect air quality.”
Koermer says there will be a lot of chemical modeling done to test effects of sea salt, specifically how it impacts ozone and aerosol emissions, as previous research has indicated air quality is more affected by transport over the ocean. The purpose of the forecasts PSU will be providing is to help air and sea vessels target their locations for specific testing and experimentation, which all can be impacted by clouds, fog and wind.
PSU meteorology students Melissa Wellman, Tabitha Bray, Marissa Diprofio, Jason Cordiera, Andrew Loconto and Rachel Cloutier are responsible for the short-term forecasts. Koermer, along with fellow Meteorology Professors Eric Hoffman and Joe Zabransky, will be providing the longer range outlook. The result will be two detailed forecasts per day at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., supported by in-depth custom displays to include but not limited to: temperature, dew points, humidity, backward trajectory, wind vector forecasts, precipitation and sea-level pressure, surface temperature, satellite radar, fog and wind speeds.
ICARTT was formed as a result of several groups of North American and European researchers planning independent experiments relative to air quality for summer 2004. By coordinating their efforts, researchers expect to gain unprecedented information and understanding of key atmospheric processes relative to regional air quality, intercontinental transport and radiation balance in the atmosphere. Among the groups providing funding for ICARTT from the United States are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. For more information on ICARTT visit www.al.noaa.gov/ICARTT/ .