Science and Technology
The NESCAUM states face an unprecedented number of federal, regional, and state initiatives requiring the best available scientific and technology information to make informed climate and air quality planning choices. Revised national ambient air quality standards for ozone, fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other air pollutants will require NESCAUM states to develop air quality plans under the federal Clean Air Act. In addition, they must also address visibility improvement in national parks and other federally protected areas; continued acid rain falling on the region’s forests, lakes, and streams; atmospheric deposition of mercury leading to fish consumption advisories; and the interstate transport of air pollution. At the same time, the NESCAUM states are leading efforts to address climate change, and the Science and Technology Team is playing an active role in integrating tools and planning processes that encompass traditional air pollutants along with emerging greenhouse gas measures. These activities will require a tremendous amount of analysis, modeling and interpretation to provide a solid technical foundation in support of effective policy.
The goal of NESCAUM's Science and Technology Team is to assist the states in meeting these numerous air quality and climate goals, as well as support other state and regional initiatives, with scientific and policy guidance based on state-of-the-art monitoring, multiple types of modeling, technical analyses, and expert interpretation. NESCAUM is positioned to provide these services through the development of a comprehensive integrated analytical framework that combines energy/technology models, economic models, chemical transport models, and health benefits assessment tools. A critically important feature of this regional framework is that each model allows state- or regionally-specific characterization of technology penetration, economic effects, environmental impacts, and public health outcomes.
Major initiatives of the Science and Technology Team in these and other areas include:
- Monitoring and Data Analysis
- NESCAUM provides a forum for state monitoring agencies, EPA and academic researchers to discuss issues and pursue advanced techniques related to routine monitoring networks as well as special studies.
- Regional Haze
- NESCAUM is a partner in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Visibility Union (MANE-VU) Regional Planning Organization and plays a major role assisting the 12 Northeast states and two tribes with compliance efforts under the 1999 U.S. EPA Regional Haze Rule. This federal regulation aims to improve visibility at 156 national parks and wilderness areas across the country.
- Regional Air Quality Modeling
- A core component of assembling the analytical framework discussed above involves developing expertise in processing emissions inventory data and simulating ambient air quality concentrations, atmospheric deposition, and visibility impacts using a variety of chemical transport models.
- Integrated Analytical Framework
- To provide states with the best available data on the economic, energy, and environmental impacts of various air quality, climate, and energy policies, NESCAUM has developed an integrated modeling framework for the Northeast states. The framework combines a number of discrete model elements to encompass energy choices, economic impacts, air quality implications, and health benefits.