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EPA Awards More Than $4.3 Million in Partnership with NSF and NOAA for Climate and Air Quality Research / Southern Company, Electric Power Research Institute provide additional support

Release Date: 06/05/2013
Contact Information: Dale Kemery kemery.dale@epa.gov (202) 564-7839 (news media only) 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $4.3 million in grants to 13 institutions to study and improve our understanding of how certain organic compounds form in the atmosphere. Research performed by grantees will help the federal government improve its air quality management systems and climate change models with respect to organic aerosol formation and help EPA continue its work of protecting people’s health and the environment.

“This partnership provides a tremendous opportunity for groundbreaking research on air quality.” said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “By working together, we will be able to improve the accuracy of the air models that are used by states to develop plans to reduce air pollution and meet air quality standards. This research will also lead to more accurate climate models as we continue to study the impacts of climate change.”

Aerosols are solid and liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere that impact our climate because they affect the amount of radiation from the sun that reaches the earth. Because aerosols have been tied to health impacts, they also play an important role in air quality.

Support from EPA, along with that of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Southern Company, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) totals more than $20 million in research funding. EPA is also contributing staff scientists to work as part of this effort.

Researchers will have access to NOAA and NSF resources such as aircraft and towers to capture information about organic aerosols at multiple heights in the air and on the ground at the same time. The Southeastern Aerosol Research and Characterization (SEARCH) Network, a collection of air quality monitoring stations throughout the southeastern United States developed by EPRI and Southern Company will be collecting ground measurements, and providing access to current and historical air quality data and analyses. The researchers will use the collected data, and high quality models built from this data, to address emerging air pollution issues.

The EPA awarded grants to the following institutions:

    Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
    SUNY, Stony Brook, New York
    University of California, San Diego, California
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
    Research Triangle Institute, Durham, North Carolina
    Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
    Reed College, Portland, Oregon
    University of California, Irvine, California
    University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
    Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

These research grants support EPA’s Air, Climate, and Energy research program, providing integrated science to address complex air quality issues.

More about these grants, visit http://epa.gov/ncer/orgaerosol

More about EPA’s air research visit www.epa.gov/airscience

More about aerosols: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/aerosol/