Scenes on a hike to Pyramid Mountain.

Clean air is essential to human health and wellness

But many areas of the country are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollutants which can harm humans and ecosystems.

Notable examples during recent years include smoke emissions due to numerous wildfires over large parts of western North America and high surface ozone episodes during heat waves across the eastern United States.

We work across the Weather Enterprise to improve air quality forecast operations and NOAA’s air quality services to the public.

Research that Demonstrates Operational Improvement

Expanding Air Quality Forecast Capabilities

Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades following passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970, but there is still work to be done to improve air quality forecasts. To help the nation mitigate impacts from air quality events, NOAA works with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state and local air quality agencies, academia, and the private sector to provide air quality forecast capabilities for the Nation through the National Air Quality Forecasting Capability (NAQFC).

WPO’s Air Quality & Fire Weather Program competitively funds NOAA laboratories, academic partners, and commercial industry through grants and cooperative agreements to test and demonstrate new, cutting-edge forecast capabilities with a goal of transitioning to the National Weather Service (NWS) air quality forecast operations and improving NOAA’s air quality services to the public. Recently funded projects have focused on air quality research and forecasting that are relatively mature (i.e. generally falling in or near the “demonstration” level of technical maturity) and not in the early stages of development or proof-of-concept.

Current Focus Areas

Fire Weather

We focus on forecast system verification and predictability, Social science and decision support services, and Subseasonal-to-seasonal forecasting. We also work to develop components related to a next generation coupled wildfire-weather Unified Forecast System that leads to improved forecasts of fire behavior and smoke.

Air Quality

Our focus is on the development and evaluation of high-resolution (1–3 km) air quality forecast capabilities consistent with NOAA’s Rapid Refresh Forecast System, improved spatial and temporal estimates of anthropogenic and natural pollutant emissions, exploration and quantification of the potential value of ensemble model approaches, post processing and artificial intelligence to NOAA’s operational air quality forecasting guidance and improved model accuracy using data assimilation of remotely-sensed products or in-situ observations.

PROJECT VIGNETTES

Improving Forecasts
for Air Quality & Fire Weather

Vertically Integrated Smoke over the US Graphic

Beyond the “Big-Leaf” Model at NOAA

Use of Novel Satellite Data and In-Canopy Processes to Improve U.S. Air Quality Predictions. PI Name & Contact: Patrick Campbell (pcampbe8@gmu.edu; patrick.c.campbell@noaa.gov). The Weather Program Office is working with George Mason University to advance the next-generation Rapid-Refresh Forecast System (RRFS)-Community…

Read more

Resources

Tools for Air Quality and Fire Weather

National Air Quality Forecast Capability (NAQFC)
National Air Quality Forecast Capability (NAQFC)
How NOAA supports wildfire science and response
How NOAA supports wildfire science and response

We Provide Fire Weather & Air Quality Funding Support for the Weather Program Office

Contact Our Team

Jordan Dale

Testbeds & Air Quality & Fire Weather Program Manager

View details
Felicia Guarriello

Testbeds & Air Quality & Fire Weather Program Coordinator

View details