ARL News

Urban Testbed Program Gaining Momentum

March 1, 2005

In recent weeks, the Office of the Federal Coordinator has released a report outlining the needs for research to refine understanding of the meteorology of urban areas, with emphasis on dispersion and air quality. Washington, DC, is seen as a prototype for the future program, with DCNet having been accepted by the community as a major contributor. Now, new work is starting in Las Vegas, where the emphasis is more on air quality than on dispersion. The ARL Special Operations and Research Division in Las Vegas is working closely with the Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division in Oak Ridge, and with the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Terrestrial Applications to initiate studies of the causes of ozone exceedances affecting the Las Vegas valley. Some observers claim that the exceedances are due entirely to local emissions, others that they are strongly influenced by long range transport. The studies now being started will provide answers.

The new Las Vegas program will be sponsored largely by local authorities. The ARL initial contribution will involve an extension of the ARL Nevada mesonet and its analysis into the Las Vegas urban area, and the installation of some air quality sampling equipment at key locations around the valley. The ARL Atmospheric Sciences Modeling Division in Research Triangle Park will apply its detailed air quality models to the Las Vegas problem. Many federal, state and local organizations plan on collaborating once the new program gains mommentum.

Contact information: Bruce B. Hicks
Phone: (301) 713-0684