Air-quality forecasting for the Pacific Northwest



EPA project on pollen, climate and health

January 2014: LAR's research on pollen, climate, and health is featured in EPA's The Quarterly Planet: Climate and Health Issue Issue (January 2014). The research group, led by Richard Flagan of California Institute of Technology, is projecting how pollen levels and respiratory impacts will be affected by global climate change, finding that pollen season may start five to six days earlier on the West Coast by midcentury. Read more...

WSU researchers predict air pollution levels

Sept 24, 2012: PULLMAN, Wash. (from - WSU researchers are trying to better anticipate smoky conditions and poor air quality. Atmospheric researchers at WSU are able to analyze the air in Pullman to find out exactly what's polluting it using a program called AIRPACT. Watch video below, or read more.

Researchers at WSU able to predict levels of air pollutants

Sept 21, 2012: PULLMAN, Wash. (from - Over the last week, the Palouse's beautiful view of the rolling hills disappeared into a haze of smoke due to all the wildfires in the region. Atmospheric researchers at WSU are able to analyze the air in Pullman to find out exactly what's polluting it. Read more.

WSU air quality research helps forecasters

Sept 14, 2012: (by Tina Hilding) PULLMAN, Wash. - In the midst of an extreme fire season, researchers from the Washington State University Laboratory for Atmospheric Research (LAR) are helping state and federal agencies make better predictions of air quality in the Northwest.

LAR researchers developed the first high-resolution, Web-based air quality forecast system in the country. The system, called AIRPACT, or Air Indicator Report for Public Awareness and Community Tracking, is run year-round on a daily basis in the Northwest.

It uses numerical weather forecasts and pollution emission data to predict the concentration of ozone, particulates and other pollutants as they are emitted, transformed, removed and transported across the region.

The AIRPACT-3 system is receiving wildfire data from satellites and is producing air quality forecasts nightly. In particular, the system models small particulate matter under 2.5 micrometers in size, which is indicative of wildfire smoke.

The results, which are provided at, illustrate how the emissions modeled for today, along with the carry-over of smoke from the previous day, are affecting the region's air quality.

WSU awarded $241K to implement GEOSS proposal

September 2011

The goal of the GEOSS project is to make air quality satellite products relevant and available to air quality decision makers in the Pacific Northwest via the NW-AIRQUEST air quality consortium. Despite highly successful efforts, much of the power of these satellite products is not fully available to agency staff because of limitations in practical data access methods, training/education, and validation for intended use in the Pacific Northwest.

Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)

The project will build upon past NASA-ROSES work in order to better integrate existing GEOSS satellite products with WSU's AIRPACT system, a set of analysis and modeling tools currently used by the NW-AIRQUEST consortium. Furthermore, the project will enhance EPA GEO and GEOSS by increasing the size and regional scope of the GEOSS user community. It will provide GEOSS with increased feedback on how current products meet the GEOSS goal of delivering information for sound decision making. If feasible, it will also provide NW-AIRQUEST modeling and analysis tools to the EPA GEO community. The integration of GEOSS products into existing NW-AIRQUEST air quality tools will lead to improved understanding of environmental factors affecting human health and well-being in the Pacific Northwest.

$3M awarded for Regional Earth-System Modeling

An interdisciplinary team led by WSU Civil and Environmental Engineering's Jennifer Adam and including co-PIs Michael Brady, Anantharaman Kalyanaraman, Brian Lamb, and Claudio Stockle has been awarded a $3,053,000 grant for a project titled "Understanding Biogeochemical Cycling in the Context of Climate Variability Using a Regional Earth System Modeling Framework."

The project aims to improve understanding of the interactions among carbon, nitrogen, and water at the regional scale in the context of global change and inform decision makers for better, more effective strategies regarding natural and agricultural management.

A regional modeling framework will be created by integrating state-of-the-art process-based models currently in existence, including: WRF for meteorology, CMAQ for atmospheric chemistry and transport, VIC for hydrology, CropSyst for agricultural dynamics, RHESSys for natural ecosystem dynamics, NEWS for aquatic nutrient transport and CREM for economic interactions.

The end product will be a state-of-science regional earth system modeling framework that explicitly addresses nitrogen and carbon flows in the context of inter-annual and decadal climate variability. Learn more at the projects's BioEarth website.

Civil & Environmental Engineering, PO Box 642910, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2910, 509-335-2576