DISCOVER-AQ Campaigns–Baltimore/12, Houston/13, Denver/14: Current State of Air Quality Science
In recent years, progress in reaching air-quality goals has begun to plateau for many locations in the United States. Furthermore, near-surface pollution is one of the most challenging problems for Earth observations from space. One of the principal scientific objectives of the DISCOVER-AQ campaigns is to explore and define the relationships between air-quality characteristics and processes aloft (PBL and free troposphere) and air-quality constituents on the ground. The understanding of these processes connecting the surface with air aloft will improve our ability to interpret space-borne measurements of ozone and precursor gases. The DISCOVER-AQ campaigns in Washington/Baltimore, Houston, and the Colorado front range comprised several aircraft, balloon-borne, and surface instruments including 3 mobile tropospheric ozone lidars. These are the most comprehensive atmospheric chemistry deployments to date. With an improved ability to monitor pollution from satellites derived from DISCOVER-AQ analyses, scientists will be able to make better air quality forecasts, more accurately determine the sources of pollutants in the air, and more closely determine the fluctuations in emissions levels. DISCOVER-AQ is a collaboration between scientists at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; NASA’s Ames Research Center, outside San Francisco; NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, CO; and multiple universities.