Development of a Real Time Remote Sensing Network to Monitor Small Fluctuations in Urban Air Quality

EPA Grant Number: GF9501227
Title: Development of a Real Time Remote Sensing Network to Monitor Small Fluctuations in Urban Air Quality
Investigators: Adamkiewicz, Gary
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Hunt, Sherri
Project Period: June 1, 1995 through January 1, 2000
Project Amount: $34,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Fellowship - Engineering


The purpose of this study is to develop, utilize and evaluate data from real-time remote sensing technologies to monitor air quality within an urban setting. Specifically, the project will establish a system to monitor small time scale fluctuations of ozone and its precursors; changes in these concentrations throughout the daily commuting cycles; changes in ozone formation throughout changing meteorological conditions; and changes in ozone formation following the implementation of a control strategy, such as the introduction of a reformulated gasoline (RFG) to the region. The specific activities conducted under this project will include: 1) conducting a literature search of monitoring and modeling research in the Boston metropolitan area, 2) development of a research plan to select remote sensing and other analytical equipment to be used, sampling locations, parameters to be monitored, quality assurance/quality control procedures, etc., 3) development and installation of the monitoring network, 4) statistical analysis of the data and determination of factors such as meteorological variables, equipment limitations, etc., and 5) comparison of pollutant transport modeling with data obtained under this study to identify and provide a basis for any modifications to the model. The Clean Air Act and its amendments have established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six major air pollutants, including ozone. Currently, hourly concentration averages are used to assess compliance with the NAAQS, often determined from longer monitoring periods. Such averaging does not account for the highly variable spatial and temporal concentrations observed. An increased level of model verification would be possible through real-time ambient monitoring capable of discerning these small time-scale fluctuations. Also, emissions inventories used in air pollution modeling have traditionally been based on accumulated estimates for individual mobile and stationary sources, not on ambient monitoring. It is expected that this study will yield more effective and efficient real- time monitoring for NOx and VOCs to more accurately quantify their levels within the urban environment.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Air, Toxics, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, air toxics, HAPS, VOCs, Monitoring/Modeling, ambient air quality, monitoring, Nox, remote sensing, urban air toxics, Nitrogen Oxides, urban air quality, air pollutants, remote sensing data, remote sensing network, air pollution, air quality criteria, ambient monitoring, urban air pollutants, air sampling, small fluctuations in urban air quality, urban air pollution, real time monitoring, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), urban environment, air quality

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998
  • Final