Studying pollution over Chesapeake Bay


It was a pretty typical day for NASA scientists studying pollution in the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia — busy, in other words.

And for good reason.  The work they were doing could help improve air-quality forecasts in a region where the air quality picture isn’t totally clear.

Over the course of a few hours, measurements would pour in from several different sensors at several locations in the lower Chesapeake Bay — sometimes simultaneously, sometimes one right after another.

Sensors were installed on a C-23 Sherpa aircraft, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), a balloon, ground-based lidar stations, a maritime research vessel and automobile-based sensors. And that’s just to name a few.

The sensors sampled the atmosphere at different altitudes and locations. They sometimes sampled the exact same locations at the exact same time to validate one another’s data.

They were all on the hunt for one thing: ozone.

That trace gas is the star of the Ozone Water-Land Environmental Transition Study (OWLETS), a NASA study looking at ozone concentrations around the lower Chesapeake Bay.

Read more at NASA Langley Research Center

Image:  NASA Langley Research Center