Wildland fires are quickly becoming one of the most significant sources of air pollution in the United States, and the effects are far-reaching. This summer New Yorkers were exposed to the city’s worst air quality in 15 years due to wildfires raging in the western United States. Despite the tremendous impact of wildland fires on air quality and public health, modeling of air-pollution plumes and accounting for cumulative impacts on air quality are woefully deficient. Local air-quality agencies have long recognized the need for improvement in these two areas but lack the technical and financial resources. The public also deserves improved access to information to make better choices about their health.
Director of Health, Environment, and Policy, Kevin Cromar, along with collaborators Daniel Tong (GMU), Bryan Duncan (NASA), and Anton Darminov (NASA) seek to bridge this gap by combining state-of-the-science air-pollution models with NASA’s latest data products to dramatically improve modeling of smoke plumes during wildland-fire events for use in real-time risk communication and to provide the first ever daily quantification of the total impact of wildland fires on particle and ozone pollution levels across the United States. This interdisciplinary effort has the potential to deliver breakthrough data products that meet air-quality agencies’ and public needs.
There is insufficient funding from federal or other agencies devoted to this consequential issue. If you know of any individuals or funding organizations who would be interested in supporting this work, please contact us.