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Robin Croft
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-6787/ 202-431-6633 (Cell)

Beth Hagenauer
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
June 19, 2008
NASA, Air Resources Board To Examine California Air Quality
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA and scientists from the California Air Resources Board, (CARB) are conducting a series of research flights this month that are examining the atmosphere over the state to better understand the chemical dynamics of smog and greenhouse gases.

Three of NASA’s aircraft (the DC-8, P-3 and ER-2) will fly the length of California along the coast from San Diego as far north as Trinidad Head, near the Oregon border. All of these planes are equipped for taking atmospheric composition measurements as part of a larger environmental science campaign, the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS), to study the impact of air pollution on the Arctic's atmospheric chemistry and climate.

"We will provide highly advanced capability to develop critically needed information on pollutant emissions and atmospheric concentrations both offshore and onshore over California allowing us to better model air quality and future climate change," said Hanwant Singh, an Ames project scientist.

NASA’s P-3 aircraft will make a series of flights over California from NASA Ames, June 18 - 26, 2008. Then it will fly to Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada. NASA’s DC-8, an airborne laboratory, will fly during the same time period from NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Center, Palmdale, Calif.

The California flights will gather samples aimed at helping the CARB obtain a better picture of greenhouse gas emission sources throughout the state. Other goals of the flights are to understand what type of pollution is being blown into the state from offshore vessel traffic and to distinguish the differences in air mass chemistry between urban and rural areas.

"This collaboration will give us information on how pollution is created, transported and even destroyed," said Bart Croes, chief of the Air Resources Board’s Research Division, in Sacramento, Calif. "The use of highly sophisticated technology, data gathered at levels far beyond our normal reach, and collaboration with NASA’s very knowledgeable technicians and scientists combine to create a rare opportunity."

NASA Dryden's DC-8 mission manager Frank Cutler said the airborne laboratory will fly four flights of varying altitudes, from June 1 - 25, including low-level passes over California's Central Valley and coastal areas. One mission will take the aircraft over the ocean off Santa Barbara, Calif., to investigate areas of seepage of natural methane.

Flights will be coordinated with the overpass of a series of NASA Earth observing satellites. Researchers can use these simultaneous measurements to validate satellite data and improve prediction models of pollution effects on California's lower atmosphere.

CARB, a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency, has been a leader in developing and implementing aggressive pollution control measures to combat smog and particulate matter for 40 years. The agency also is working to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.

For additional information about California's Air Resources Board contact Leo Kay at 916-849-9843.

For more information about ARCTAS, visit:

For more information about NASA Ames Research Center and its research projects, visit:

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