AGES+ Coordinating Activities

Aircraft: Cessna 402

Northeast Corridor Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas (NEC-AQ-GHG) Study

Science objectives

To support the overall AEROMMA 2023 science objectives related to urban emissions that impact air quality and climate, the NOAA Air Resources Lab (ARL) and University of Maryland (UMD) will deploy a fully instrumented Cessna 402 research aircraft in the Northeast Corridor (NEC) region from Washington, DC to New York City (NYC) for the NEC Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas (NEC-AQ-GHG) study in the summer of 2023. An airborne measurement package operated from the Cessna research aircraft will measure short-lived air pollutants and greenhouse gases emitted from Baltimore/Washington, NYC as well as Philadelphia. Data from the Cessna research aircraft will be used to characterize the meteorology and chemistry leading to air pollution events and emissions of GHGs over this region. The research proposed here will provide the scientific basis for effective air quality and climate policies. In addition to the AEROMMA science questions, important NEC-AQ-GHG scientific objectives include:

Deployment Location, Calendar, and Proposed Payload

region map
The study region (shade red rectangle) for the NEC-AQ-GHG 2023 research aircraft.

The Cessna research aircraft will be deployed to the NEC region from Washington, DC to NYC from approximately 1 July to 15 August 2023 for the NEC-AQ-GHG 2023 study.

The measurement package on the Cessna research aircraft will consist of the following 1) a Picarro Model 2401-m analyzer to measure CO2, CH4, and CO; (2) a Teledyne Cavity Attenuation Phase Shift (CAPS) to measure NO2; 3) a modified TECO 42C to measure NO and NOy; (4) an AE43 Aethalometer to measure black carbon at 7 wavelengths; (5) a Tofwerk Elf proton-transfer-reaction Time-of-Flight mass spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) instrument to measure benzene, toluene, xylene, acetone, acetonitrile, acetaldehyde and potentially other VOCs, and (6) sensors to measure meteorological parameters of air temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction.

Potential Instrumentation for NEC-AQ-GHG

Species MeasuredTechniquePIInstitution
PositionGPSXinrong RenNOAA ARL
Meteorology (T, RH, P, 2-D Wind)Thermistor Hygristor, Capacitance Manometer, Differential GPSRussel DickersonU Maryland
Fast Greenhouse Gas Analyzer (CH4/CO2/CO/H2O)Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy, Picarro Model G2401-mRussel DickersonU Maryland
Ozone (O3)UV AbsorptionXinrong RenNOAA ARL
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Nitric Oxide (NO), Nitrogen Oxides (NOy)CAPS, Teledyne Chemiluminescence, Thermal dissociation to NOXinrong RenNOAA ARL
VOCsTofWerk PTR-ToF-MSPeter DecarloJohns Hopkins U
Black Carbon (370, 470, 520, 590, 660, 880, 950 nm)Aethalometer, AE43Xinrong RenNOAA ARL

This instrument payload will address the above objectives related to air quality and climate. These measurements of air pollutants and greenhouse gases (GHGs) will be used to detect spatial variations in biogenic and anthropogenic (including VCP) emissions across rural to urban gradients and to characterize spatial and temporal patterns of O3 and its precursors together with GHGs. NIST-traceable standards will be used to calibrate analyzers used on the aircraft.

Flight Plans

NEC-AQ-GHG 2023 will include ~60 hours spanning approximately 15-20 science flights. Flight plans will be chosen in coordination with other airborne platforms and participating agencies. The measurements from these flights will augment data from other airborne platforms and ground monitoring sites along the NEC from Washington, DC to NYC area. Each flight will last 3 to 4 hours. The home base of the aircraft is Fort Meade, MD. It is expected that about 6 missions (~3 flights each mission) will be flown out of MD with an overnight stay at Westchester Airport (White Plaines, NY).