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Rapid Science Synthesis

The Rapid Science Synthesis Team (RSST) for the Second Texas Air Quality Study (TexAQS) has been charged to address a series of 12 High Priority SIP-Relevant Science Questions identified by leaders within the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Answers to these critically important questions (see list on pages 3 and 4 of the RSST Scientific Approach Report PDF file) are needed by TCEQ in order to fulfill the Commission's responsibility to develop and submit to the US Environmental Protection Agency scientifically sound State Implementation Plans (SIPs) by which to attain the recently implemented 8-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants. SIPs for both the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Ozone Non-Attainment Area (HGB) and the Dallas-Fort Worth Ozone Non-Attainment Area (DFW) are scheduled to be completed during the early months of 2007.

Approaches to answering TCEQ's SIP-Relevant Science Questions are being developed by a series of RSST Working Groups established by mutual agreement among leaders in TCEQ and the Office of the Director for the Southern Oxidants Study (SOS-OD). The SOS-OD is headquartered at North Carolina State University and is led by Ellis Cowling, Director of SOS, Cari Furiness, SOS Research Associate, and Basil Dimitriades, Adjunct Professor at NC State and former EPA Project Officer for SOS. Each of these 12 RSST Working Groups consists of 7-10 expert persons (members of each Working Group are listed on pages 3 and 4 of the RSST Scientific Approach Report PDF file). These experts have been drawn from various university-, state-, federal-, and private-sector organizations (names and organizational affiliations of each Working Group member are shown on page 5of the RSST Scientific Approach Report PDF file). Each of these individuals has specialized knowledge and insights in the realms of science that are essential to provide insight into one or more of TCEQ's High Priority SIP-Relevant Science Questions PDF file.

Answers to TCEQ's High Priority SIP-Relevant Science Questions PDF file are needed in order to develop the most up-to-date and scientifically sound State Implementation Plans (SIPs) for two very different and very large ozone non-attainment areas within the state of Texas:

  1. The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria ozone non-attainment is a COASTAL city of about 4 million people. The HGB non-attainment area consists of eight counties in southeastern Texas and is subject to very distinctive coastal (sea-breeze) meteorological conditions and extraordinarily large petrochemical sources of industrial emissions within the ozone non-attainment area (especially the Houston Ship Channel and other nearby sources of industrial emissions).
  2. The Dallas-Forth Worth ozone non-attainment area is an INLAND city, also of about 4 million people. The DFW non-attainment area includes 8 counties in north-central Texas, with relatively typical inland metropolitan meteorological conditions and only limited industrial sources within the non-attainment counties but with several power plants in upwind locations within northeastern Texas.

Technical Liaison within TCEQ for the science assessment functions of the RSST is provided by Mark Estes of TCEQ's Data Analysis and Modeling Section. David Parrish of the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been designated by NOAA ESRL to provide leadership for NOAA scientists for RSST activities; he acts as leader or co-leader for 8 of the 12 RSST Working Groups.