Building Pollution Measurement Systems
News Apr 17, 2015
While humans have burned wood for warmth since the dawn of civilization, it is only recently that wood smoke pollution has been more closely examined. University at Albany atmospheric scientist James Schwab will examine the impact of wood smoke on air quality in the Adirondacks, where wood remains one of the chief sources of heat in rural communities.
"Wood smoke is a significant contributor to the overall particle pollution in large areas of upstate during the winter months," said Schwab, a senior research associate at the Atmospheric Sciences and Research Center (ASRC). "Our project goal is to collaborate with the Department of Environmental Conservation to build portable and flexible measurement systems for responding to local air pollution concerns."
The research is supported by a $510,000 contract from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority.
Schwab is also partnering with Assistant Professor Eric Leibensperger of SUNY Plattsburgh and Associate Professor Huiting Mao of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry on a proposal to the SUNY Research Foundation on Adirondack air quality and climate.
Both studies will examine the effects of wintertime wood smoke on Adirondack air quality, using portable, low-cost sensors to measure community exposure to pollutants, especially ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter (PM), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Based on work being done elsewhere in the Northeast, there is already a clear connection between wood heating, air quality, and asthma.
With wood burning remaining the primary source of heat for many people in the Adirondacks, and recorded data on climatic and atmospheric conditions dating back nearly 50 years, the region is an ideal location for examining the impact of wood smoke.
Using a Global Forecast System to Examine Impact of Aerosols
The air pollution projects are two of several at ASRC that is looking at the relation between air pollution and climate change. Research Associate Dr. Cheng-Hsuan Lu has received a grant for $140,125 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Prediction NCEP) to improve weather forecasting by taking into account the impact of aerosols on radiation and clouds.
In addition to causing adverse health effects, aerosols impact cloud microphysics, reflectance and precipitation. Current global forecast systems are still inadequate to account for the impact of aerosols.
Lu's work will enhance current software architecture and system engineering to enable NCEP's global forecast system to more closely monitor and determine the impact of aerosols in the atmosphere.
Microwaves Could be as Bad for the Environment as CarsNews
Microwaves usage across the EU alone emits as much carbon dioxide as nearly seven million cars according to a new study. Researchers have carried out the first ever comprehensive study of the environmental impacts of microwaves, considering their whole life cycle, from ‘cradle to grave’.READ MORE
Nitrogen Pollution Helps Sugar Maples but a Warmer, Drier Climate May Threaten ThemNews
Though Michigan's sugar maples benefit from the growth-promoting effects of nitrogen compounds in the environment, those gains will not fully offset the added stresses of growing under a drier climate in the future, according to a new study.READ MORE