The Bay Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (BRACE)
April 22, 2002
The Bay in question is Tampa Bay, Florida. There are grave concerns about the health of the Bay, especially now that a major power plant is about to be re-powered (the Gannon plant, on the southern shore of Tampa Bay). Earlier studies indicated that the Bay is likely affected by atmospheric deposition of nitrogen species, but the estimates of loading due to atmospheric deposition are subject to large error. To reduce the error, the State of Florida (with a contribution from NOAA) is sponsoring the Bay Regional Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (BRACE) to document the total nitrogen budget of the Bay. NOAA is strongly involved. Scientists from five ARL groups will be participating – Research Triangle Park, Idaho Falls, Silver Spring, Oak Ridge, and Boulder. The ARL crew is presently assembled at AOC in Tampa, where one of the Twin Otters is being equipped with the latest nitrogen air chemistry instrumentation for use in BRACE. Surface flux stations will also be set up, to document the dry deposition rates of nitrogen species and to serve as ground truth for the aircraft program. There is considerable interest in the role of ammonia, which is being addressed in the BRACE study through collaboration between ARL and Florida A and M University in Tallahassee. ARL chemistry studies will also involve collaboration with chemists from Argonne National Laboratory. The NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory is also involved, through the deployment of remote sensing systems. With the involvement of the low-flying NOAA Twin Otter, BRACE will certainly be highly visible.