AQAST newsletter March 2012

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Register now for the AQAST Science Team Meeting on June 13-15, 2012 at the University of Wisconsin - Madison!

Welcome to the March 2012 newsletter of the NASA Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (AQAST). This bimonthly newsletter keeps you up to date on AQAST publications, activities, and events. Catch up by reading previous newsletters.Visit regularly the AQAST website for more detailed information on ongoing projects. Subscribe/unsubscribe to this newsletter by email to Bob Yantosca.

AQAST is a team of atmospheric and air quality scientists focused on serving air quality management needs through the exploitation of Earth Science data and tools. We conduct a wide range of projects in partnership with air quality agencies at the local, state, regional, and national levels. We have a broad array of expertise and resources to serve air quality needs. We welcome expressions of interest by air quality managers to make use of AQAST resources. Please “help us help you” by telling us about your issues. Contact any AQAST member or team leader Daniel Jacob. We look forward to hearing from you!

Daniel J. Jacob (AQAST leader)
djacob [at] fas [dot] harvard [dot] edu

Robert M. Yantosca (AQAST webmaster)
yantosca [at] seas [dot] harvard [dot] edu

Recent AQAST publications

Lu and Streets [2012]: Rising NOx emissions from power plants in India

Citation: Lu, Z., and D.G. Streets, Increase in NOx emissions from Indian thermal power plants during 1996−2010: unit-based inventories and multi-satellite observations, submitted to Environ. Sci. Technol.,, 2012.(full text)

Topic: Long-term trends of Indian NOx emissions are evaluated using a time series of space-based NO2 data compiled from the GOME, SCIAMACHY, OMI,and GOME-2 instruments.

McLinden et al [2012]: Rising NOx and SO2 emissions from Canadian oil sands

Citation: Mc. Linden, C.A., V. Fioletov, K.F.Boersma, N. Krotkov, C.E. Sioris, J.P. Veefkind, and K. Yang, Air quality over the Canadian oil sands: A first assessment using satellite observations, Geophys. Res. Lett.,, 39, L04804, 2012. (full text)

Topic: Use of OMI NO2 and SO2 satellite observations to infer NOx and SO2 emissions from the Canadian oil sands and their trends.

See feature of this article on AGU web site.

Wang et al [2012]: Monitoring NOx emissions from space

Citation: Wang, S.W., Q. Zhang, D.G. Streets, K.B. He, R.V. Martin, L.N. Lamsal, D. Chen, Y. Lei, and Z. Lu, Growth in NOx emissions from power plants in China: bottom-up estimates and satellite observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Disc., 12, 45-91, 2012. (full text)

Topic: Use of OMI NO2 satellite observations to test inventories of NOx emissions from new power plants in China.

Tai et al [2012]: Effect of climate change on PM air quality

Citation: Tai, A.P.K., L.J. Mickley, D.J. Jacob, E.M. Leibensperger, L. Zhang, J.A. Fisher, and H.O.T. Pye, Meteorological modes of variability for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air quality the United States: implications for PM2.5 sensitivity to climage change, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Disc.,12, 3,131-3,145, 2012. (full text)

Topic: Identification of meteorological modes for robust projection of the response of PM2.5 to 21st century climate change.

Lin et al [2012]: Asian influence on surface ozone

Citation: Lin, M., A.M. Fiore, L.W. Horowitz, O.R. Cooper, V. Naik, J. Holloway, B.J. Johnson, A.M. Middlebrook, S.J. Oltmans, I.B. Pollack, T.B. Ryerson, J.X. Warner, C. Wiedinmyer, J. Wilson, and B. Wyman, Transport of Asian ozone pollution into surface air over the western United States in spring, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D00V07, 2012. (full text)

Topic: Detection of Asian plumes as an early-warning indicator of enhanced US ozone in the West.

See ScienceShot of this article in Science magazine and [ AGU Editor's highlight]

Zhang et al [2011]: PRB ozone for EPA ISA

Citation: Zhang, L., D.J. Jacob, N.V. Smith-Downey, D.A. Wood, D. Blewitt, C.C. Carouge, A. van Donkelaar, D.B.A. Jones, L.T. Murray, and Y. Wang, Improved estimate of the policy-relevant background ozone in the United States using the GEOS-Chem global model with 1/2°x2/3° horizontal resolution over North America, Atmos. Environ., 45, 6769-6776, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.07.054, 2011. PDF

Topic: Documentation of the PRB ozone values used in the EPA ISA and REA documents for ozone NAAQS setting

Other AQAST activities

The Saint Louis Ozone Garden

AQAST member Jack Fishman (Saint Louis University) has started an "ozone garden" as an education & outreach project in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Saint Louis Science Center. This garden includes different ozone-sensitive plants (coneflower, tall and common milkweed, snap beans) for which ozone damage can be observed over the course of the growing season. The garden will be planted in early May at a very visible location in the Saint Louis Science Center with 750,000 visitors per year. In future years, it is envisioned that similar gardens will be planted at other locations around the country, with other members of the AQAST forming partnerships with their own local Science Centers and/or Botanical Gardens. Click here for more information on the project.

User-friendly processing of OMI NO2 data

AQAST member Tracey Holloway's group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison] has developed a suite of Python-based programs to aggregate Level-2 OMI NO2 data to a user-defined grid over a user-defined temporal averaging period. The algorithms are being extended to other instruments and data products, and the user interface is under development, with a target distribution date of March 2012. These flexible scripts support the comparison of satellite data and regional air quality models, and comparison among satellite data products by converting results to a common grid.

Review of AQAST activities at the AGU 2011 Fall meeting

AQAST member Russ Dickerson (U. Maryland) organized with S. Kim (NOAA) a special session at the AGU 2011 Fall Meeting entitled, "Remote Sensing of Trace Gases and Aerosols: Air Quality Applications”. This session included presentations from many AQAST members and featured early AQAST accomplishments concerning applications of NASA data to air quality issues, especially those related to the DISCOVER-AQ field experiment that took place in the Baltimore-Washington area in July 2011. Click here for further description of the session and abstracts of the presentations.

AQAST overview and background ozone presentations for NACAA and WESTAR

Daniel Jacob gave a general overview of AQAST including more specific discussion of work on background ozone at the February 16, 2012 telecon of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) and the March 19, 2012 telecon of the Western States Air Resources Council (WESTAR). Powerpoints of these presentations can be found here. A follow-up question-and-answer WESTAR telecon with Daniel Jacob will take place on Tuesday May 8 at 1 pm Pacific. Contact Bob Lebens of WESTAR for call-in information.

Upcoming AQAST events

Physical Atmosphere Advisory Group Spring 2012 meeting

The Physical Atmosphere Advisory Panel under AQAST will hold its first meeting April 25-26, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of the meeting is to examine the difficulties models have in replicating the physical atmosphere in which air pollutants evolve and whether satellite data can improve the model results. The meeting will include at its core a team of atmospheric scientists with experience in modeling and observing the physical atmosphere. Presentations will include cases studies of problems as well as successes in using satellite data. In addition to the core team we hope to have air pollution meteorologists from states and the private sector participate.

While the meeting is open to everyone there is a limitation on space at the hotel. If you are interested in attending please contact Peggy Kauffmann to reserve a place. She can provide help on logistics and information. The meeting will begin in the early afternoon of April 25 and end mid-afternoon on April 26.

NASA Applied Sciences Program training on using remote sensing data for Air Quality Applications: mid-March 2012 at the University of Wisconsin

The NASA Applied Remote Sensing Education and Training (ARSET) program in conjunction with the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium (LADCO) will be providing a workshop on utilization of NASA resources in support of environmental management activities. This workshop is being organized in collaboration with AQAST member Tracey Holloway (U. Wisconsin - Madison) and co-I Bart Spoonseller (Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources). The workshop will be hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at UW-Madison.

To complement the NASA ARSET training, AQAST team members Tracey Holloway, Brad Pierce, Greg Carmichael, and Scott Spak will be participating. Holloway and students Jacob Oberman and Erica Scotty will be unveiling new software to support regional model evaluation and analysis of OMI NO2 (both NASA and DOMINO products) and MOPITT CO. The software, called WHIPS (Wisconsin Horizontal Interpolation Program for Satellites), allows uses to create custom-gridded "Level-3" products from publicly available Level-2 data. Brad Pierce will present work and insights for comparing satellite and model data, and the whole group - Carmichael, Holloway, Pierce, and Spak - will provide a brief overview of AQAST goals and research, and discuss future directions with workshop attendees.

For details on the workshop go to or contact Richard Kleidman at

Third AQAST Meeting (AQAST3) at University of Wisconsin - Madison, June 13-15, 2012

The third biannual AQAST meeting (AQAST 3) will be held at the University of Wisconsin - Madison on June 13-15, 2012. Local hosts will be AQAST members Brad Pierce and Tracey Holloway. The purpose of this meeting is to (1) review ongoing AQAST and partner activities, (2) discuss emerging air quality management needs and how AQAST may help. The meeting is free and open to all; we particularly welcome the participation of air quality managers. Click here for further information on the meeting including how to register. Please direct questions about the meeting to AQAST leader Daniel Jacob, Brad Pierce, or Tracey Holloway.

AGU Session: Application of Satellite Data to Serve AQ Management Needs, Dec 3-7, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce Session A008: Application of Satellite Data to Serve Air Quality Management Needs at the 2012 Fall American Geophysical Union meeting ( from December 3rd - 7th, 2012 in San Francisco, California.

Session A008: Application of Satellite Data to Serve Air Quality Management Needs

Satellites offer a formidable new resource for air quality (AQ) management, providing regular observations of air pollutants with wide spatial coverage. AQ agencies have shown great interest in using satellite data, but more work and communication are needed to match the resources offered by these data with the needs of AQ managers. For example, whereas AQ metrics are generally based on surface concentrations and deposition fluxes, satellites can only provide information with limited vertical resolution. Individual satellite retrievals may have significant uncertainties and unavoidable sampling biases, requiring careful interpretation. This session will present current research focused on exploiting satellite observations for AQ applications.

We encourage you to submit an abstract to our session. Please note that the deadline for abstract submission is August 8, 2012.

The co-chairs for Session A008 are members of the NASA Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (AQAST). AQAST is a NASA team of atmospheric scientists working in partnership with US air quality managers to exploit the power of Earth Science tools to address air quality issues. This team conducts a wide range of projects using satellite data, suborbital data, and models, and work with air quality agencies from the local to the national level.


Daniel Jacob, Harvard University, AQAST lead
David Edwards, NCAR
Tracey Holloway, University of Wisconsin
Bryan Duncan, NASA