|Advances in Atmospheric Science have occurred as a result
of our ability to observe and measure, with increasing accuracy,
the properties of the atmosphere. This is true in dynamic meteorology,
in physical meteorology, and especially in atmospheric chemistry.
Many of the most important chemical species are only present
at the part-per-billion (ppb) or part-per-trillion (ppt) level,
so it is crucial that we make accurate and repeatable measurements
down to these levels.
Predominantly, the atmospheric chemistry group deals with the measurements
of atmospheric trace gases; especially those involved in tropospheric
ozone production and airborne particulate matter. Another major
area of research is aimed at developing instrumentation for the
measurement of chemical composition of the atmosphere, primarily
the more reactive species.
In particular, the scientists have worked on Laser Absorption Spectrometers
for methane (CH4) and for hydrogen peroxide
(H2O2). These instruments
use mid-infrared gas lasers, multipass absorption cells, and frequency
modulation detection techniques. After a period of laboratory development,
the new instruments will be used for measurements in the field.
For instance, in 1995 they outfitted a New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation owned
recreational van (RV) with gas analyzers for O3, CO, NO-NOX,
NO-NOY, SO2, and hydrocarbons, and sited this mobile air monitoring
station near Corning in southwestern New York. The station also
makes routine meteorological measurements of wind speed, wind direction,
temperature, humidity, precipitation, solar, and UV radiation.
This station at Pinnacle State Park
was part of a network of 9 similarly equipped sites throughout the
Northeastern US involved in a coordinated program to study tropospheric
ozone pollution. Using extensive data from many sites will allow
us to better determine the sources of ozone pollution. In 1999 the
RV was replaced with a prefabricated air monitoring shalter, and
they began to measure airborne particulate
matter (aerosols or PM2.5) in addition to the gaseous pollutants