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Information Infrastructure for Air Quality Modeling and Analysis: Application to the Houston-Galveston Ozone Non-attainment Area
The Houston-Galveston Area (HGA) and several other metropolitan regions in the US are classified, under the Clean Air Act, as non-attainment areas because of the noncompliance of air quality standards due to higher ground-level ozone and particulate matter concentrations. These regions must reduce their ozone levels within the next 5 to 7 years to comply with EPA standards or they will be penalized with a loss of federal funding and other punitive measures. To study the severity of air pollution problems and to provide tools for the development of emissions control strategies, a research information infrastructure that includes air quality measurement data and various modeling systems is necessary. This paper presents an example of such system that integrates a set of meteorological models, emissions processing systems, air quality models, a trajectory analysis tool, a GIS-based data analysis/visualization system, and a collection of observational data sets for the HGA housed in a network of computer systems. We demonstrate the capacity and utilization potential of the information infrastructure to test some of the nongovernmental organizations and public initiated emissions control scenarios proposed by groups including the Task Force for Ozone Reduction Strategies (TFORS), which might have a significant impact on the State Implementation Plan (SIP).
Keywords: Air quality modeling, emissions, meteorological modeling, ozone, state implementation plan
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