Air Quality Group
The Air Quality Group is a research group composed of professors, professional research scientists, staff research associates, and graduate and undergraduate students from the combined disciplines of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Atmospheric Science and Ecology. The group is supported by extramural funding and grants and/or contracts from many sources, the largest being the National Park Service (NPS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The National Park Service supports a large research effort named IMPROVE (Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments) that monitors particle composition at roughly 170 locations throughout the United States and the Virgin Islands. The Air Quality Group is responsible for the design, operation, and quality assurance of the sampling network. Much of the sample analysis is performed at Crocker, including gravimetric mass, optical absorpt ion, elemental composition by X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and hydrogen by proton elastic scattering analysis (PESA). The Group also coordinates carbon and ion analyses at other laboratories, collecting and distributing the necessary samples, validating the results, and integrating the different data streams into a unified data base.
Evaluation of dust emission from agricultural practices in the San Joaquin Valley was funded by the US Department of Agriculture and by Cotton Incorporated. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology provides an on-site, detailed image of the aerosol relative concentrations that CNL researchers are using to understand non-point source PM emissions from agricultural operations. The flux of PM10 emissions from the various stages in the harvesting of almonds, walnuts, figs and cotton is the emphasis of the work; emission rates for clay, silty and sandy soils are determined.