ARL News

Special Issue of EM Magazine on Links Between Air, Land, and Water Quality

December 2007

S.T. Rao of ARL’s Atmospheric Sciences Modeling Division organized a special issue of the EM Magazine on Linking Air, Land, and Water Pollution for Effective Environmental Management. EM Magazine is a publication of the Air and Waste Management Association for Environmental Managers. Seven articles will be featured in the December 2007 issue of the magazine.


Since passage of the Environmental Policy Act in 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NOAA, other federal agencies, and the states have made substantial progress in improving the nation’s air and water quality. Traditionally, air, land, and water pollution control programs are managed independently of one another due, in part, to differing funding allocations and separate sets of rules and regulations. Even in a single-medium management paradigm, air programs have been addressing one pollutant at a time. Recognizing the complex interplay between meteorology and atmospheric chemistry, air quality managers are now beginning to pay attention to the development of multipollutant strategies under the “one-atmosphere” concept. It is increasingly evident that air pollution control programs aimed at addressing issues such as acid rain, ozone, and fine particulate matter can also provide significant benefits to water quality. For example, reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions have helped reduce nitrogen eutrophication in coastal waters, while controls on mercury emissions into the atmosphere help reduce methylmercury concentrations in fish and wildlife.


Atmospheric deposition is the natural physical process by which airborne contaminants leave the atmosphere and are transferred to the land and water, contributing to multi-media pollution problems. Hence, policies dealing with excess greenhouse gases, nitrogen, sulfur, mercury, and other contaminants in the atmosphere must also consider multimedia issues to maximize the benefits of environmental regulations. The articles in this issue of EM discuss the need for integrated assessments of air, land, and water pollution and the resulting challenges confronting environmental managers. Policies reflecting this integrated approach to multimedia assessments are necessary for effective environmental management in the future.

Contact information:
Dr. S.T. Rao
Phone: (919) 541-4541