Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Research
EPA’s goal for air-ecosystem linkage is consistently interface weather, climate and air quality models with aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem models to provide local atmosphere-biogeochemical drivers of ecosystem exposure and resultant effects. EPA's objective is to improve the ability of the atmospheric models to link with ecosystem models.
Another goal is to harmonize the connection between local ecosystems and regional airshed. The physically consistent linkage of atmospheric deposition and exposure with aquatic/watershed and terrestrial models is central, yet has not received adequate attention to date, and needs further development.
EPA's air-ecosystem research is organized into three major components. See diagram for more information.
Research in Action
Community Multi-scale Air Quality Model (CMAQ)
CMAQ is a powerful computational tool used by EPA for air quality management, and by the National Weather Service to produce daily forecasts for ozone air quality. The model is also used by states to assess implementation actions needed to attain National Ambient Air Quality Standards. CMAQ includes emission, meteorology, and chemical modeling components which help scientists reduce uncertainties in model simulations.
Air Quality and Climate Change Interactions
EPA scientists are developing techniques for dynamically downscaling future global climate scenarios to create regional and local climate scenarios. These techniques will help EPA assess effects of future climate change on air quality, water quality and availability, heat stress, health, ecosystem exposures, and changes in extreme events.
Modeling Air Quality Impacts on Terrestrial and Water Quality
Clean water and air come from healthy, sustainable ecosystems. To restore and protect ecosystems, EPA scientists are bringing together air quality models, meteorology models, and hydrology models to determine the effects air quality can have on ecosystem health. Working together, these models can help scientists and policy makers better understand factors that contribute to air pollution-driven impacts on ecosystems.
Enhancing CMAQ Air-Surface Exchange for Ecosystems
While the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model is a state of the science one-atmosphere model, CMAQ needs to have state of the science connections to ecosystem models for multimedia analyses. The emphasis of this ecosystem research to enhance air-surface exchange capabilites in CMAQ is to add, modify and evaluate CMAQ components for better ecysystem model linage and land-use change study.
Coupling Meteorology and Hydrology
Meteorology and hydrology are linked, but that connection is imperfectly incorporated in models today. To capture an appropriate water budget for ecosystem studies, meteorology and hydrology should be coupled. The atmospheric system research on coupling focuses on developing a protype modeling system to improve the coupling between meteorological, atmospheric and hydrology models to provide internally consistent fields of meteorology, hydrology and atmospheric deposition.
Atmosphere-Ecosystem Linkage Studies
To create multimedia modeling capabilities to answer management questions, atmospheric and ecosystem models must be able to connect and work together. EPA scientists are working to achieve a consistent multi-media model connection between atmospheric process-based models and water quality calibrated models that have process-based components, but rely on calibration.
Atmosphere-Ecosystem Exposure Application Studies
Application studies condusted with motivated partners provide EPA with an important test laboratory to explore, assess, and learn how to apply improved techniques to advance the use of atmospheric models in ecosystem management studies.