Analysis of Surface Particulate Matter and Trace Gas Data
Generated during the Houston Operations of DISCOVER-AQ
In recent years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has placed considerable emphasis on the use of satellite remote sensing in the measurement of species such as O3 and PM that constitute air pollution. However, additional data are needed to aid in the development of methods to distinguish between low- and high-level pollution in these measurements. To that end, NASA established a program titled Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality (DISCOVER-AQ). DISCOVER-AQ began in summer 2011 with work in the Mid-Atlantic Coast that featured satellite, airborne, and ground-based sampling. The DISCOVER-AQ program conducted operations in and near Houston in September 2013.
During the Houston operations of DISCOVER-AQ, there was a need for ground-based measurement support. The predecessor to this project filled that need by providing quantitative measurements of sub-micron particle size and composition and mixing ratios of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other photochemically relevant gases such as O3 and oxides of nitrogen (NOx = nitric oxide (NO) plus nitrogen dioxide (NO2)). The instrumentation for these measurements was deployed using the University of Houston (UH) mobile laboratory. The current project focuses on the analysis of data generated during the mobile laboratory operations during DISCOVER-AQ. To date, work has focused simply on contracting issues and development of a work plan and a quality assurance plan.