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DISCOVER-AQ mission graphic

Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality

Phase: Completed

Start Date: July 2011

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Program(s):Earth System Science Pathfinder

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The overarching objective of the DISCOVER-AQ investigation is to improve the interpretation of satellite observations to diagnose near‐surface conditions relating to air quality. To diagnose air quality conditions from space, reliable satellite information on aerosols and ozone precursors is needed for specific, highly‐correlated times and locations to be used in air quality models and compared to surface- and aircraft-based measurements. DISCOVER‐AQ is providing an integrated dataset of airborne and surface observations relevant to the diagnosis of surface air quality conditions from space.

image of planned flight pathDISCOVER‐AQ provides systematic and concurrent observations of column‐integrated, surface, and vertically‐resolved distributions of aerosols and trace gases relevant to air quality as they evolve throughout the day. This is accomplished with a combination of two NASA airborne platforms (B200 and P-3B) sampling in coordination with re-locatable and fixed surface networks. One aircraft is used for extensive in-situ profiling of the atmosphere while the other conducts both passive and active remote sensing of the atmospheric column extending below the aircraft to the surface. These aircraft will repeatedly overfly instrumented surface locations continuously monitoring both column and surface conditions for select variables throughout the day.

DISCOVER‐AQ focuses on NASA’s goals to study the Earth from space to increase fundamental understanding and to enable the application of satellite data for societal benefit. DISCOVER‐AQ aligns with priorities for both the Atmospheric Composition Focus Area and the Applied Sciences Air Quality Program at NASA. Fundamentally, DISCOVER‐AQ will provide data needed to critically examine the ability to determine surface air quality conditions from space.

image of DISCOVER-AQ Aircraft

Principal Investigator: James Crawford
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Project Manager: Mary Kleb
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Mission Manager: Jennifer Olson (LaRC)