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Tropospheric Chemistry: Projects

oil and gas drilling site

SONGNEX 2015, Western US. The goal of the Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX) 2015 program is to quantify the emissions of trace gases and fine particles from several different tight oil and shale gas basins in the western U.S., and to study the chemical transformation of these emissions. The study will be focused on basins which represent a mixture of oil and gas production regions at various stages of development. This airborne study involves the NOAA WP-3D aircraft mobile platform. More info...


WINTER logo

WINTER, Mid-Atlantic 2015. The large majority of field intensives in polluted regions have focused principally on understanding emissions, transformation and transport in warmer conditions. The Wintertime INvestigation of Transport, Emissions, and Reactivity (WINTER) study will provide detailed, aircraft-based measurements to address the seasonality of these processes. The NSF C-130 will be based in the mid-Atlantic region over six weeks in January-February 2015. Flights will take place on scales ranging from investigations of local sources (urban, power plant, agricultural) to longer-range transport. Results will critically inform atmospheric chemical models for ozone, aerosols and a variety of other primary and secondary pollutants. More info...


inversion over Baseline Reservoir
Inversion along the Colorado Front Range

FRAPPÉ / DISCOVER-AQ 2014, Colorado. The NSF sponsored Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Éxperiment (FRAPPÉ) and the NASA sponsored Deriving Information on Surface conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality (DISCOVER-AQ) mission take place in Summer 2014. Three aircraft, including the NASA P-3 and King Air and the NSF / NCAR C-130 will make observations characterizing the local to regional chemical environment including photochemistry, oxidant and aerosol formation and fate, flow and recirculation patterns and large-scale inflow. Instruments at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) tower will provide both ground-based measurements and vertical profiles of a suite of compounds that contribute to aerosol and ground level ozone. More info...


instrument trailers
Trailers at ground site in Wangdu, China

CARE-Beijing, China 2014. CARE-Beijing (Campaigns of Air Quality Research in Beijing and Surrounding Regions) is an international air quality study focused on understanding the transport and transformation process of air pollution in Beijing and the surrounding North China Plain. CSD deployed a cavity enhanced spectrometer to the ground site at Wangdu in collaboration with Peking University and Georgia Institute of Technology, to measure key sources of atmospheric oxidants that participate in photochemical reactions producing harmful secondary pollutants, such as ozone and particulate matter. More info...


Bakken Formation map
Bakken shale rock formation area map courtesy of USGS

TOPDOWN, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico 2014. Twin Otter Projects Defining Oil/gas Well emissioNs (TOPDOWN) aims to understand the atmospheric impact of rapidly expanding oil and gas operations in the Bakken play in North Dakota. Subsequent flights will also examine the Denver-Julesburg basin in NE Colorado, and the San Juan basin in New Mexico. Instruments integrated aboard the NOAA Twin Otter aircraft will measure key atmospheric trace gases (CO2, CO, CH4, C2H6, O3, and many more) along with black carbon. More info...


UBWOS site
Trailers at ground site near Horsepool, UT

E&E UBWOS, Horsepool, Utah, 2012, 2013, and 2014. The Energy and Environment - Uintah Basin Winter Ozone Study (E&E UBWOS) was designed to study the causes of high wintertime ozone observed in the Uintah Basin. Scientists constructed a ground site of instruments to study sources of VOCs, NOx and particles, ozone formation chemistry in areas of enhanced UV radiation from snow cover, unique radical sources (HONO, CH2O, ClNO2) and the role of transport. More info...


SEAC4RS logo

SEACR4S, Houston, Texas, 2013. Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) is based out of Ellington Field in August - September 2013. Focused on pollution emissions and the evolution of gases and aerosols in deep convective outflow, and the influences and feedbacks of aerosol particles from anthropogenic pollution and biomass burning on meteorology and climate, the project requires two aircraft to accomplish the goals. The NASA DC-8 will provide observations from near the surface to 12 km, and the NASA ER-2 will provide high altitude observations reaching into the lower stratosphere as well as important remote sensing observations connecting satellites with observations from lower flying aircraft and surface sites. More info...


Southeast mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

SENEX 2013, Southeast US. The goal of SENEX 2013 is to study the interactions between natural and anthropogenic emissions in the southeast at the nexus of the air quality and climate change. Scientists will quantify the emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosol, and investigate the roles played by anthropogenic and natural emissions in the formation of ozone and aerosol in the atmosphere. This airborne study involves the NOAA WP-3D aircraft, forecast modeling and surface monitoring networks. More info...


Erie Tower
Boulder Atmospheric Observatory Tower, Erie, CO

SONNE, Erie, Colorado, 2012. Summer Ozone Near Natural gas Emissions (SONNE) was designed to examine the effects of photochemical processing and characterize the gas-phase composition in the vicinity of oil and natural gas production in Wattenberg Field of the Denver-Julesburg Basin during the summertime. Scientists constructed a ground site of instruments to study VOC emissions and gas-phase composition of the ambient air. More info...


clouds photo

DC3, Salina, Kansas, 2012. The Deep Convective Clouds & Chemistry (DC3) experiment investigates the impact of deep, midlatitude continental convective clouds, including their dynamical, physical, and lightning processes, on upper tropospheric composition and chemistry. Airborne measurements taken from the NASA DC-8 in July 2012 provide in situ observations to characterize the convective storm inflow and provide remote sensing to aid in flight planning and column characterization. More info...


BioCORN site
Corn field near Fort Collins, CO

BioCORN, Ft. Collins, Colorado, 2011. The primary goals of Biofuel Crops emission of Ozone pRecursors iNtensive (BioCORN) are to discover the dominant VOCs from biofuel crops, the likely oxidation products, and the total aerosol and ozone forming potential. To help meet these goals, scientists set up a ground site with several instruments to measure the emissions of a corn field. Corn is the largest biofuel crop in the U.S. for ethanol production. Most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. is E10 which means it contains 10% ethanol, mainly produced from corn. Furthermore, there is little information on VOC emissions in literature from corn. More info...


Erie Tower payload
Boulder Atmospheric Observatory Tower, Erie, CO

NACHTT, Erie, Colorado, 2011. The primary goal of Nitrogen, Aerosol Composition, and Halogens on a Tall Tower (NACHTT) is to understand why and how a compound usually associated with the atmosphere near oceans – nitryl chloride (NO2Cl) – also forms during the winter nighttime in land-locked regions. NO2Cl breaks apart quickly as the sun rises to release chlorine atoms. Chlorine atoms can react with many other compounds, contributing to smog formation, and can also influence chemical cycles that destroy or produce various greenhouse gases, including ozone and methane. Studies commence February - March 2011 to assess these implications for both climate and air quality. More info...


Haze over LA Basin
Haze over East Los Angeles

CalNex 2010, Southern California. The goal of the California Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change (CalNex) 2010 program is to study the important issues at the nexus of the air quality and climate change problems, and to provide scientific information regarding the trade-offs faced by decision makers when addressing these two inter-related issues. The NOAA WP-3D aircraft, the R/V Atlantis ship, and several ground sites were involved in this project. Comprehensive data analysis followed the completion of this project in July 2010. More info...

Fire Lab
A test fire in the Fire Lab

Fire Lab, Missoula, Montana, 2009. Forest fires are a large source for pollutants in the atmosphere and one of the important issues for air quality and climate change. The goal of this study was to quantify the atmospheric source of organic and inorganic trace gases from forest fires and to assess their potential to contribute to aerosol and ozone formation. The fire emissions of various fuels from the south-eastern and south-western US were quantified and compared. More info...


<Trailers housing instruments on Kohler Mesa
Trailers housing instruments on Kohler Mesa

Kohler Mesa, Boulder, Colorado, 2009. Halogens play several important roles in the Earth's atmosphere, influencing ozone levels and affecting rates of VOC oxidation. Yet both the magnitude and the identity of halogen sources remain highly uncertain, particularly in the troposphere. Recently, NOAA researchers have discovered a mechanism for release of halogens from halide containing aerosols that is linked to NOx pollution. This mechanism was originally thought to be important only in coastal or marine environments where sea salt aerosol provides a source of aerosol chloride. The aim of this study is to determine the extent to which such chemistry is also active over mid-continental areas. Results will provide new insight into the efficiency of tropospheric halogen production. More info...


WP-3D over Brooks Range
NOAA WP-3D aircraft over the Brooks Range, AK

ARCPAC, Fairbanks, Alaska, 2008. As part of the International Polar Year of 2008, NOAA engaged in an airborne field measurement campaign targeted at improving understanding climate-relevant processes. This effort was focused on direct measurements of properties and processes that can be used to reduce uncertainty in radiation and climate models. The measurements were made in the Alaskan Arctic to closely coordinate with remote-sensing and in situ observations planned for aircraft and ground sites in the vicinity of Barrow, Alaska. More info...


Knorr ship in stormy weather
R/V Knorr in stormy weather

ICEALOT, Greenland, Norwegian and Barents Seas, 2008. As part of the International Polar Year of 2008, NOAA engaged in a field mission using the R/V Knorr in the ice-free regions of the Greenland, Norwegian, and Barents Seas. Scientific issues to be addressed will include springtime sources and transport of pollutants to the Arctic, evolution of aerosols and gases into and within the Arctic, and climate impacts of haze and ozone in the Arctic. More info...


Erie Tower
Boulder Atmospheric Observatory Tower, Erie, CO

BAO, Erie, Colorado, 2008. The Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) 2008 project is a short-term informal, collaborative study linking air quality and climate goals in an urban area in the proximity of complex terrain. This project temporarily enhances NOAA Carbon Cycle long-term measurements with an additional suite of anthropogenic pollution measurements. This study overlaps with test flights of ESRL remote-sensing instrumentation on the NOAA Twin Otter in the Colorado Front Range region. More info...


WP-3D at Ellington Field
NOAA WP-3D at Ellington Field at sunrise with plumes in background

TexAQS, Houston, Texas, 2006. This intensive field study focused on providing a better understanding of the sources and atmospheric processes responsible for the formation and distribution of ozone and aerosols in the atmosphere and the influence that these species have on the radiative forcing of climate regionally and globally, as well as their impact on human health and regional haze. The Texas Air Quality Study (TexAQS) area included Texas and the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. This project used the NOAA WP-3D and the R/V Ronald H. Brown as research platforms. More info...