NASA Plane Collecting Air Pollution Samples

The scientific aircraft will fly low over the East Bay gathering samples from the atmosphere.

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane...

Well, yes, it is a plane.

It's an aircraft from NASA flying as low as 1,000 feet Thursday and Friday over the East Bay.

The plane is collecting air quality data on behalf of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The aircraft will fly over the Interstate 680 corridor and other Bay Area regions. It'll take off Thursday morning from the Sacramento area.

It's one of four NASA planes that will be flying over the central portion of California collecting data on how pollution flows through the atmosphere.

"In terms of the results, it's a 3D look at winter air pollution that has never been looked at before," said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the air quality district.

The district paid $28,000 for its portion of the study. Air district employees will also collaborate on interpeting the results.

Chris J Kapsalis January 31, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I would like to know the percent of pollution from cars, trucks, refineries and so on in relation to the percent of pollution from the buring of wood in this sample study please. I will take a wild guess and say wood buring is less than ..01% of the pollution as compaired to other pollution, like air craft ad cars inspecotrs drive around, or from electical generation from 100 or so coal plants across Ameirca.
Chris Nicholson January 31, 2013 at 07:33 PM
For PM2.5, which is the new hot button (since other stuff is already pretty clean), wood in fireplaces is about 26% of the total during the winter. http://www.baaqmd.gov/~/media/Files/Planning%20and%20Research/Plans/PM%20Planning/Attachment%20for%20item%2010-%20Emissions%20Inventory.ashx In summer, all "Domestic Combustion" (wood fires and wood stoves, etc) is about 9%. http://www.baaqmd.gov/~/media/Files/Planning%20and%20Research/Emission%20Inventory/BY08SummaryReportFinal.ashx So, if you want to reduce PM2.5 from current levels, wood fires are not a dumb place to start. The issue is: how badly do we want to reduce PM2.5 beyond already-safe levels-- and WHY? Also, given building codes and local permitting rules, it is hard to build a new house (or major remodel) with an open-hearth wood fireplace. So the problem will be largely self-solving over time even without further rules or nutty "Save the Air" crusades....
Chris Nicholson January 31, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Sorry. One other thing. You are essentially correct with respect to "pollution" as historically understood (nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, etc.). Wood fires are less than 1% of this nasty stuff. It's only the particulate matter categories where wood smoke is a significant source.


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