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Regional and Urban Air Quality: Now and in the Future


for Members

Regional and Urban Air Quality: Now and in the Future

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The New York Academy of Sciences

The Green Science and Environmental Systems discussion group will specifically focus on the role science can play in understanding the environment and the development of green science.


Air Quality over the Eastern United States
S.T. Rao, Environmental Protection Agency

Atmospheric concentrations of ozone and fine particulate matter continue to exceed their standards in many parts of the eastern United States. However, the peak concentration levels and number of ozone exceedances have decreased substantially in recent years due, in part, to the implementation of the NOx SIP Call over the eastern United States by May 2004. Using the ozone observations and air quality models, we illustrate the impact of emission controls on the electric generating units and present research that is underway to better understand the relationships between air quality and human health.

Air Quality and Climate Connections
Arlene Fiore, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

Over the past decade, several key connections between air pollution and climate change have been identified. Air pollutants that contribute to climate forcing will be discussed, with an emphasis on mitigation strategies that would jointly address climate and air quality objectives. For example, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, connects climate and air pollution by contributing to the formation of tropospheric ozone, another greenhouse gas that is also the primary constituent of ground-level smog. Finally, the influence of future changes in climate on air quality will be explored while also highlighting the strong dependence of present-day pollution episodes on meteorological conditions.

Prioritizing Ozone and Fine Particle Pollution: Lessons from Exposure Science
Patrick Kinney, Columbia University

Both ozone and fine particulate matter are major air quality challenges in the U.S., with many cities and regions still experiencing outdoor concentrations considered to be unhealthy. However, individual health risks are determined by the pollution we encounter as we go about our lives, which may differ markedly from the concentrations measured at routine monitoring sites. Exposure science addresses the ways in which individual pollution exposures are influenced by the air we encounter both indoors and outdoors as we move through various micro-environments. This talk will highlight recent insights from exposure science regarding both ozone and fine particle exposures, and will discuss possible implications for prioritizing future regulatory efforts.