Maryland Day Event Includes Air Resources Car

May 1, 2023

NOAA’s Air Resources Car was on display at the University of Maryland’s annual event on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at the McKeldin Mall during Maryland Day at the University of Maryland College Park. An annual event, Maryland Day invites local agencies to participate in the outreach opportunity which can attract up to 50,000 visitors, although soggy conditions probably kept that number lower this year.

ARL scientists Xinrong Ren and Phil Stratton took the Air Resources Car to campus in order to describe the goals and science behind the imposing looking van. Some visitors reported seeing the van in the neighborhood and wondered what it was, so it provided an opportunity for education and information. Visitors were invited to see what the instrumentation was observing about the local greenhouse gasses and air quality, and were also invited to exhale into the instrumentation to see how the air composition changed. Nearby activities and events such as the propane-fired barbeques at a food truck, and diesel powered engines scooting past also spiked readings on some atmospheric measurements installed in the van. 

This is a great opportunity to reach out to our community,” said Ariel Stein, ARL’s Director. He further noted that, “A number of visitors showed great interest in this research area, and were intrigued by the Agency’s efforts to explore the local impacts of greenhouse gasses and air quality.

Some visitors were wondering about how the mobile measurement data in urban areas will be used. “The data will be used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions from point sources,” said Xinrong Ren. “This data will be further integrated into an inverse modeling system to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from an entire urban area.”

Other NOAA offices, including NWS/NCEP at NCWCP in College Park, also had meteorologists on-hand to answer questions and provide a demonstration for the NWS’ “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” safety campaign, which included a display demonstrating the dangers of driving into rising waters for motorists.

Phil Stratton, center, explains some of the atmospheric measurements to UMD students.
Right to left: ARL director Ariel Stein, with visitor, Phil Stratton and Margaret Simon