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UNH Announces Additional Funding for Air Quality Research

The Result of $12 Million in NOAA Funding Proposed by U.S. Senator Gregg

By Amy Seif
Communication and Information Coordinator
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
603-862-5369

July 29, 2002


DURHAM, N.H. -- University of New Hampshire President Ann Weaver Hart today announced that U.S Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) has included $12 million in funding for Northeast air quality studies in the Senate Appropriations Bill for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), now making its way through the U.S. Senate.

Through his position as the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, Gregg is proposing an additional $1.75 million for the New England Air Quality Study, an additional $6 million for the development of air quality and improved temperature forecasting with the Northeast serving as a test site, and an additional $5 million for an air monitoring institute housed at UNH.

This summer marks the 2002 campaign of the New England Air Quality Study, an effort of more than 20 partner institutions to identify why the northeastern United States has some of the worst air quality in the country.

This month-long campaign includes NOAA's largest research vessel, the Ronald H. Brown, a G-1 Gulfstream research aircraft operated by the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and stationary monitoring sites throughout New England. The study was partially initiated by the NOAA-funded Atmospheric Investigation, Regional Modeling, Analysis and Prediction (AIRMAP) project headquartered at the UNH.

"The New England Air Quality Study is enormously important to all of us, and it is happening only because of Senator Gregg's strong leadership," UNH President Hart said this morning at the Port Authority pier in Portsmouth, N.H., where the RV Ronald H. Brown was docked. "The studies this summer, combined with the regionwide field campaign planned for 2004, will enable scientists to unravel many of the complex factors affecting our region's air quality. This will be important not only for creating systematic air quality forecasts but learning how to best improve New England air quality."

Gregg, who participated in this morning's event, stated, "I am pleased to help continue the funding for the New England Air Quality Study and to assist in the development of air quality and improved temperature forecasting through AIRMAP and other programs. This research has not only established the University of New Hampshire as a national center for atmospheric investigations, but has and will continue to benefit the nation by leading to more accurate air quality forecasts."

The New England Air Quality Study is focused on determining the sources of pollutants affecting the New England atmosphere and improving air quality forecasting. Information gathered from the ship will help understand the outflow of polluted air from the northeastern United States and further the intricate relationship between atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, such as the sea-breeze effect on the occurrence of ozone episodes.

The New England Air Quality Study will enhance current research of New England's air quality through the NOAA-UNH AIRMAP Cooperative Institute. For three years, AIRMAP has taken pollutant measurements from monitoring stations in three rural New Hampshire sites. The ship and plane are being used as additional monitoring sites, offering the advantage of mobile platforms.

"AIRMAP is providing an important framework of continuous chemical measurements throughout the year for the New England Air Quality Study," said Robert Talbot, director of the AIRMAP Cooperative Institute and UNH Professor of Earth Sciences at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. "The detailed snapshot of New England air quality obtained during this summer's field campaign provides information that can be extended to other time periods using the AIRMAP monitoring network. It also gives us the opportunity to evaluate air quality forecast models and help guide their improvement toward becoming a useful product, much like weather forecasts, for businesses and the general public.

A much larger air quality field campaign is anticipated for the summer of 2004. James Mahoney, NOAA assistant secretary of commerce, said this summer's work and the next big campaign directly support the National Weather Service initiative to produce detailed air quality forecasts on a routine 24-7 basis, which is being championed by Gregg.

For more information, visit the New England Air Quality Study Web site at http://www.al.noaa.gov/neaqs/ or the AIRMAP Web site at http://airmap.unh.edu/.

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