Three ARL Scientists Among OWLETS-2 Field Study Participants

June 2018

ARL’s Dr. Winston Luke, Dr. Xinrong Ren, and Paul Kelley will be among the NOAA scientists joining researchers from a number of federal and state agencies and universities participating in the Ozone Water-Land Environmental Transition Study 2 (OWLETS-2) field campaign that begins tomorrow, June 6, 2018, in the Greater Baltimore metropolitan area and continues through July 6. Led by NASA, this study will examine the roles played by chemistry and meteorology in controlling levels of photochemical ozone and fine particle pollution in the lower atmosphere around the Northern Chesapeake Bay; ​relating​ to similar atmospheric weather patterns which are unique in estuarine and ocean environments.

In preparation for the study, the trio from ARL traveled to Essex, Maryland, in March to assess a site on Hart-Miller Island, approximately 10 miles east of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Instrumentation comprised of trace gas sensors for air chemistry, mercury, and greenhouse gases was transported via trailer then floated by barge before being installed on the island by the ARL scientists in late May. In addition, ARL’s Dr. Mark Cohen developed forecast products utilizing the North American Mesoscale Forecast System and ARL’s own HYSPLIT atmospheric transport and dispersion model to inform flight planning of research aircraft, deployment of mobile sampling platforms (boats and automobiles), and preparation of special sampling programs at ground sites (launches of lightweight balloons carrying instruments).

ARL’s chemical and meteorological measurements and subsequent analysis will help to better understand, and ultimately represent and predict, the atmospheric chemistry and complex air flow in coastal areas, where a significant portion of the U.S. population resides. ARL’s measurements aim to improve meteorological and air quality model prediction capabilities, with a goal toward protecting human health from a variety of pollutants.

OWLETS-2 is a continuation of last summer’s OWLETS field program conducted in the Southern Chesapeake Bay region near Hampton Roads, Virginia. Other participants include NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Langley Research Center, the University of Maryland’s Department of Atmospheric and Ocean Science, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Johns Hopkins University, and the Maryland Department of the Environment.

OWLETS-2 logo
Credit: NASA