NCAR air pollution study is largest in Colorado

DENVER — Air pollution is a health hazard, especially for those with asthma and other breaking problems.

Experts say Colorado  frequently exceeds national standards for ozone, and now scientists from around the world are getting closer look as part of the largest air quality study ever in Colorado.

The National Center For Atmospheric Research, NCAR, is joining with the state health department and NASA to study the threat of pollution in Colorado’s air.

“NASA pays attention to the problem because we need to know how to monitor it from space we have several earth ventures that monitor air quality,” said NASA specialist Audra Bullock.

Two-hundred engineers, pilots and scientists will work together using the latest technology on board a C-130 plane that will carry NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory.

Researchers will combine information from the plane’s instruments with what they learn from satellites and ground instruments to find ozone hot spot and their origins.

Dr. Gabriele Pfister of the NCAR said pollution can affect more than the air.

“It also can damage plants (and) it can damage crop yields,” Pfister said.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Garry Kaufman said the project will also track pollution from wildfires.

“We see emissions from across the ocean coming to impact Colorado’s air,” Kaufman said.

Experts say this is just  the beginning, results will be useful for decades to come.

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