ARL News

Field Research Division 2006 Texas Air Quality Study Deployment


August 24, 2006

The NOAA Smart Balloon Team of scientists and engineers from the Air Resources Laboratory Field Research Division (ARLFRD) has deployed to La Porte, TX to participate in the 2006 Texas Air Quality Study (TexAQS). In partnership with scientists from the University of New Hampshire and the University of Hawaii, ARLFRD will deploy six low-altitude smart balloons. Each balloon launch will be coordinated with overflights by the NOAA P-3 and intensive observations aboard the NOAA research vessel Ronald H. Brown. Each small (11 foot diameter), super-pressured, constant altitude balloon will act as a Lagrangian sampling platform equipped with a miniature ozone sensor along with other sensors to relay real-time position, velocity, altitude, solar radiation, temperature, relative humidity and surface infrared temperature continuously over a period of one to several days. The ozone data will be examined for both temporal and spatial variations in an effort to improve the understanding of the roles that emissions, chemistry and transport play in air quality in and around Houston, Texas.


The University of Texas TexAQS web site states: “Reducing air pollution is one of the most pressing public policy challenges facing the State of Texas. Failure to meet federal air quality mandates will result in significant public health consequences and hundreds of billions of dollars in lost economic development for Texas.” This will be the third air quality study in Texas since 1990. The study spans the period from May 2005 through September 2006. FRD participation will be from 20 August through 16 September 2006.


Through better understanding of the transport, evolution and influence of meteorological conditions on air quality in the Houston, Texas area, valuable information will be made available to help formulate an effective approach to improving air quality and quality of life in this major population area. This research is in support of NOAA’s mission of serving our nation’s need for weather and water information.

More information: