During the summer of 2016, ACOM organized the NCAR/ASP Summer Colloquium titled “Recent Advances in Air Quality Analysis and Prediction – The Interaction of Science and Policy. This was the 50th anniversary of that event. The Colloquium lasted two weeks – July 25 to August 5, 2016. ACOM hosted approximately 40 lecturers and 30 students. The participants were as international as the subject with multiple representatives from the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Air quality is an atmospheric science topic of great domestic and international importance. It directly impacts human health and welfare across multiple temporal and spatial scales. Its research is taking place in a rapidly evolving regulatory and technological environment. Those changes are creating two challenges: (i) air quality scientists and researchers find it difficult to keep up with the regulatory/policy changes that motivate the funding for much or their research, and (ii) air quality regulators/policymakers find it difficult to keep up with the technological advances that underlie the air quality issues/remedies their regulations/policies are meant to address. The Colloquium addressed those challenges by bringing together graduate students, early career scientists, and lecturing experts from around the world to explore/discuss the following subject areas: (i) The Air Quality Problem (international/domestic), (ii) Air Quality Regulation and Policy (international/domestic), (iii) Air Quality Observations (regulatory/research/in situ/remote), (iv) Air Quality Modeling (regulatory/research/operational), (v) Assimilation of Atmospheric Composition Observations, and (vi) Emission Inventories and Estimation Methods.
The Colloquium students were selected from over 60 applicants who are pursuing careers in air quality science or policy. The applicants came from graduate/post-graduate programs in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Holland, Greece, Chile, China, Japan, and Korea. During the Colloquium, the students participated in lectures, panel discussions, field trips, tutorials, and presentations. The break-out group discussions/exercises and computer-based tutorial covered the following: (i) adding a new criteria pollutant to the United States’ National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) list, (ii) regulating carbon dioxide as an air pollutant under the United States’ Clean Air Act, (iii) working with and comparing satellite retrievals with in situ observations of atmospheric composition, (iv) using WRF-Chem to simulate the advection/evolution of atmospheric dust, (v) future directions in operational air quality forecasting (United States, Canada, Europe, and China/Asia), (vi) meteorological and chemical data assimilation, and (vii) using inverse methods for “top-down” emissions estimation. The participants also took field trips to visit: (i) a Colorado Air Care – Rapid Screen mobile emissions monitoring site, and (ii) a CASNET and IMPROVE monitoring site in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness Area.