Valley Smog Study Starts Intensive Phase
SACRAMENTO - Over 20 groups of scientists and researchers from throughout the nation will converge on the San Joaquin Valley July 2 to begin an eight week, detailed measurement of the valley's smog problems.
The next right weeks mark the most intensive research so far in the $10 million project, which will give regulators a comprehensive update on air quality, emissions patterns and meteorology in the San Joaquin Valley.
The study is cooperatively sponsored by more than 50 groups, ranging from the valley's eight air pollution control districts and the state Air Resources Board to agricultural, oil, and other industrial interests.
Information generated by the San Joaquin Valley Study is expected to contribute to an upgraded, long-term air quality plan for the region, as well as to help industrial leaders develop a long-range blueprint for growth that is compatible with environmental goals.
After two years of planning and preliminary projects, the study is entering a phase where the most important information will be collected. Fifteen days out of the next eight weeks will be used to collect detailed information about air quality and meteorology, all of which will be used to develop a computerized model that can simulate the valley's atmosphere.
During that time, as many as seven airplanes and a flotilla of weather and pollution monitoring balloons will criss-cross the valley to gather the millions of bits of information needed to develop the computerized model. The model will help air quality planners simulate the effects of pollution-reducing programs as they are put into practice
Key state and valley environmental leaders, including Air Resources Board Chairwoman Jananne Sharpless, Kings County Supervisor Les Brown, Kern County Supervisor Pauline Larwood were among the study's Policy Committee members who today kicked off the concentrated research period, which highlights the project.
ARB Chairwoman Jananne Sharpless said, "We know that the valley has the potential to develop smog concentrations greater than those in the Los Angeles area, this information will help us prevent that from occurring.
"Current air quality programs, such as Smog Check inspection of cars and vapor recovery systems in service stations are effective in reducing the valley's present air pollution. We will, however, have to do more in the future as the valley's population grows and changes from rural to urban.
"The information gathered during this project will give us the long-range blueprint w need to develop the best air quality improvements in the valley as it continues to grow ad change."
The San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Study will be augmented by information gathered in another study being carried on simultaneously.
The $6 million Atmospheric Utilities Signatures, Predictions and Experiments project (AUSPEX), sponsored by the Electric Power Institute (EPRI) and PG & E, will plot air movement among the San Francisco Bay Area, Monterey, San Luis Obispo areas and the San Joaquin Valley. That data will help researchers assess the amount of air pollution that is formed outside the valley but transported into the San Joaquin Valley.