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Scientists launch far-ranging campaign to detail Front Range air pollution

BOULDER Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and partner organizations from across the country are launching a major field project on the northern Front Range of Colorado this month to track the origins of summertime ozone, an invisible but harmful pollutant.

The researchers will use specially equipped aircraft, networks of ground-based instruments, and sophisticated computer simulations. Results from the month-long study will provide needed information to officials seeking to ensure that air in the region is healthy to breathe.

Summertime air pollution on the Front Range, including Denver, often exceeds federal standards for safe levels of ground-level ozone pollution despite efforts to reduce emissions. Ozone can lead to increased asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments. It also damages vegetation, including crops.

"Our goal is to produce an accurate and detailed view of all the diverse sources of ozone pollution along the Front Range," said NCAR scientist Gabriele Pfister, a principal investigator on the project. "We want to fingerprint where the pollution comes from and analyze what happens when it mixes in the atmosphere."

Known as the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPP), the study will track emissions from both human-related activities and natural sources. It will focus on the urban corridor from south of Denver, north to Fort Collins, as well as the adjacent plains and mountains. Scientists also want to determine how much pollution comes from upwind areas, including other states and countries.

Funded through a federal-state partnership, FRAPP is supported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and by the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR's sponsor.

Two Major Projects Converge

To provide additional detail across the region, scientists will closely coordinate FRAPP with a second air quality miss

Contact: David Hosansky

Bob Henson

National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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