NASA Use of Satellite Measurements to Validate and Improve Air Quality Predictions of Ammonia and Fine Particulate Matter


Led by NC State Professor Dr. Viney Aneja, this initiative is a 3-year integrated atmospheric composition and air quality project to utilize NASA Earth Science observations (satellite, sub-orbital and ground) to support air quality modeling and analysis of ammonia and fine particulate matter change associated with intensive agriculture. Gaseous ammonia in the atmosphere contributes to the formation of ammonium compounds – including ammonium bisulfate, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium nitrate, which comprise a large fraction of airborne fine particulate matter.

Elevated levels of this particulate matter are associated with various adverse human health impacts, including irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, and premature death, and can contribute to visibility impairment and regional haze. The primary objective of the research project is to examine atmospheric composition changes, i.e. changes in mixing ratios of ammonia in agricultural regions and PMfine (aerosols), through synergistic use of satellite, aircraft and ground based observations of ammonia and aerosols.

The secondary objective is to utilize models and observational data to improve emission inventories for ammonia and aerosols. The purpose of the project is to improve the aerosol forecast capability within the National Air Quality Forecast Capability (NAQFC) and to improve the emission inventory of ammonia, and tracking of reactive nitrogen. This will assist in improving the environment and strategies for control of aerosols and ammonia. Kenan Institute support is leveraged by additional support from NASA and NOAA.