Northwest International Air Quality Environmental Science and Technology Consortium

NW AIRQUEST

About NW-AIRQUEST

For background information regarding NW-AIRQUEST, please select from the following:

Overview

Overview

1.0 The NW-AIRQUEST Mission

NW-AIRQUEST seeks to maintain and enhance a sound scientific basis for air quality management decision-making in the Pacific Western North America Region. It achieves such a basis through collaboration and sharing of experiences to remain abreast of the state-of-the-science and to develop regionally consistent technical approaches to emission inventories, air quality modeling, and air monitoring. NW-AIRQUEST cooperation enhances the effectiveness of individual members in a mutually beneficial relationship while operating within the resource constraints of each member organization. NW-AIRQUEST collaborates to align science and management needs with the air programs of its member organizations.

2.0 NW-AIRQUEST Objectives:

  1. Providing sound scientific advice to, and receive appropriate input or direction from, decision-makers for the management of air quality issues within the Region;
  2. Development, operation, and improvement of urban and regional numerical air quality forecast systems to form an archival database of simulated atmospheric data. A key effort will involve coordinating emission inventory and air quality observational databases for model application and evaluation;
  3. Development, evaluation, and application of tools for specific measurement and modeling studies to address particular issues, or to answer specific science questions related to air quality in the Pacific Western North America Region;
  4. Education, technology transfer, and communication to enhance understanding of current air quality issues, to improve capabilities among all members for using advanced modeling systems to address these issues, and to promote wide-spread communication of methods and results throughout the Region; and
  5. Collaboration with other scientific groups, particularly organizations with similar goals in other regions, and organizations involved in the science disciplines associated with air quality and related environmental resources.

3.0 NW-AIRQUEST Organization and Membership

NW-AIRQUEST comprises a virtual air quality science center dependent on active involvement of all its sustaining, collaborative, and associate members.

The current sustaining members are:

* U.S. EPA Region 10
* Nez Perce Tribe
* Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
* Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
* Lane Regional Air Protection Agency
* Washington Department of Ecology
* Benton County Clean Air Agency
* Northwest Regional Clean Air Agency
* Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency
* Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
* Southwest Clean Air Agency
* Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency
* Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency
* University of Washington
* Washington State University

4.0 Current Projects

A list of projects may be found HERE.

Charter

Charter

December 7, 2010   (pdf version)

Introduction

During the past fifteen years, scientists from government agencies and research institutions in southwestern Canada and the northwestern United States have been cooperating in an informal way to develop, evaluate, and apply advanced air quality models. For many of those years this group leveraged related projects, shared experiences, and developed regionally consistent approaches under the name of the Northwest Regional Technical Center. At the 2003 Northwest Air Summit, nearly 200 participants from business, non-profit organizations, and local, state, tribal, and federal governments agreed that air quality management decisions should be based on sound science and proposed the establishment of the "Northwest International Air Quality Science Coordinating Committee." In December 2003, the group was formalized as the Northwest International Air Quality Environmental Science and Technology Consortium (NW-AIRQUEST). A Charter dated December 4, 2003 was signed by participating organizations in the following months. The Charter provided a foundation for enhanced communication of the science at both the technical staff and management levels of participating organizations, and the opportunity to collectively seek financial backing for projects of common interest.

NW-AIRQUEST operates as a parallel organization to the Northwest Regional Modeling Consortium (NRMC), which provides mesoscale meteorological forecasts for several related scientific disciplines. An organization's membership and membership category in NW-AIRQUEST is independent of its association with the NRMC and vice versa. However, NW-AIRQUEST depends heavily on NRMC products and as of this date all of NW-AIRQUEST's sustaining members are also members of NRMC. They fund NRMC products (i.e., WRF) and NW-AIRQUEST products (i.e., AIRPACT and ClearSky) through their financial support of NW-AIRQUEST. These organizations are considered sustaining members of both NRMC and NW-AIRQUEST.

This document is the first update of the original 2003 NW-AIRQUEST Charter. The update was motivated by the Northwest Regional Modeling Consortium effort to expand its membership to include heavy users of its products. In that process, the air quality community saw a need to re-affirm and modify the role of NW-AIRQUEST and its membership categories. This Charter describes the purpose and goals of NW-AIRQUEST, and the framework within which it functions to achieve these goals.

For the purposes of this Charter, the region concerned is the Pacific Western North America Region taken to encompass all or part of the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska in the United States, and the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta in Canada.

Purpose

NW-AIRQUEST seeks to maintain and enhance a sound scientific basis for air quality management decision-making in the Pacific Western North America Region. It achieves such a basis through collaboration and sharing of experiences to remain abreast of the state-of-the-science and to develop regionally consistent technical approaches to emission inventories, air quality modeling, and air monitoring. NW-AIRQUEST cooperation enhances the effectiveness of individual members in a mutually beneficial relationship while operating within the resource constraints of each member organization. NW-AIRQUEST collaborates to align science and management needs with the air programs of its member organizations.

Goals

NW-AIRQUEST is based on a strong collaboration among members aimed at:

  1. Providing sound scientific advice to, and receive appropriate input or direction from, decision-makers for the management of air quality issues within the Region;
  2. Development, operation, and improvement of urban and regional numerical air quality forecast systems to form an archival database of simulated atmospheric data. A key effort will involve coordinating emission inventory and air quality observational databases for model application and evaluation;
  3. Development, evaluation, and application of tools for specific measurement and modeling studies to address particular issues, or to answer specific science questions related to air quality in the Pacific Western North America Region;
  4. Education, technology transfer, and communication to enhance understanding of current air quality issues, to improve capabilities among all members for using advanced modeling systems to address these issues, and to promote wide-spread communication of methods and results throughout the Region; and
  5. Collaboration with other scientific groups, particularly organizations with similar goals in other regions, and organizations involved in the science disciplines associated with air quality and related environmental resources.

Organization and Membership

NW-AIRQUEST comprises a virtual air quality science center dependent on active involvement of all its sustaining, collaborative, and associate members.

Sustaining members encourage achievement of goals through consistent long-term collaboration and through financial support of the NW-AIRQUEST air quality forecast system and other common-regional products (defined in next section). Sustaining members have full voting capabilities and also collectively design a work plan for common-regional projects.

For our main common-regional projects AIRPACT and ClearSky, NW-AIRQUEST members strive to collectively contribute at least $110,000 per year to the maintenance of these projects, while other sources typically contribute more (e.g., in FY09 other agencies contributed $165,000). Agencies that fund these common-regional projects but are not NW-AIRQUEST members are encouraged to join NW-AIRQUEST as a sustaining member if they intend to consistently fund these projects and retain a Pacific Western North America Region focus for their involvement.

Sustaining members are expected to contribute significant funding to NW-AIRQUEST and NRMC. Contributions scale with the scope of a member's organization and the member organization's size. Members are expected to contribute in line with organizations of similar scope, similar budget, and similar need for the product. Long-standing members with a proven commitment to NW-AIRQUEST may be allowed to either contribute less or not contribute at all in a particularly difficult year and still retain their sustaining membership status. University of Washington and Washington State University are sustaining members because they contribute significant in-kind services that are indispensible to the operation and improvement of our current common-regional modeling projects.

Collaborative members encourage achievement of goals through consistent long-term collaboration. They have voting privileges for all matters except those related to the funding, work plan, and access of common-regional projects. They participate in NW-AIRQUEST projects through in-kind contributions but do not fund common-regional projects. Although they strongly influence common-regional projects through collaborative and meaningful scientific input, they have no direct role in the work plan for common-regional activities and are not guaranteed access to common-regional products. In addition to in-kind contributions, it is expected that collaborative members seek financial resources to contribute to the ongoing cost of operating NW-AIRQUEST and NRMC infrastructure.

Associate members are affiliated with NW-AIRQUEST, and may be interested only in specific products or projects. Associate members may fund developmental work and participate in all of the proceedings and meetings, but are excluded from voting. Associate members may become collaborative members upon affirmation of the collaborative and sustaining members.

Linking Science and Policy

To help assure that air quality policy is scientifically grounded, the various members of NW-AIRQUEST provide input to and receive direction from their respective air quality decision makers. Periodically, as appropriate, NW-AIRQUEST or its representatives meets with policy decision-making bodies to align science and management objectives. A key component of such joint meetings is the discussion and concurrence with the proposed annual work plan. The decision-making bodies in the region currently include, but are not limited to, the NW Air Directors Group, the Air Quality Coordinating Committee of the Lower Fraser Valley, and the federal land managers. Participating staff of member organizations are expected to maintain good two-way communication with their management regarding program science needs and policy direction, as well as NW-AIRQUEST activities, capabilities, and products.

Annual Work Plan

Sustaining and collaborative members work together to develop an annual work plan that fits into the longer-term science needs. The work plan describes two basic types of projects, reflecting different roles of NW-AIRQUEST. The first type of project, and the most common, is a developmental project sponsored by a member. The role of NW-AIRQUEST in a member-sponsored project is primarily an advisory role, facilitating collaboration and promoting information exchange and technology transfer. An example of this type of project is a modeling analysis for a State Implementation Plan revision. The second type of project is one that carries a more regional or multi-state/province support function, and is referred to in this document as common-regional projects. The role of NW-AIRQUEST in this case would include project management and implementation by sustaining members. Examples of the second type of project are operation of regional air quality forecasting systems, or development and maintenance of a Web-based emission inventory repository.

Responsibilities

All sustaining and collaborative member organizations designate representatives to NW-AIRQUEST that will be actively engaged in the coordination, development, and implementation of the annual work plan. Member organizations foster regular communications between their management and their staff NW-AIRQUEST representatives. The members willingly collaborate and share expertise with the other members through technology transfer opportunities or other mutually agreed upon arrangements. Sustaining member organizations seek joint funding opportunities for common-regional projects.

While supported through NW-AIRQUEST, the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research at Washington State University (LAR-WSU) will contribute to maintain the virtual air quality science center and the emission inventory repository, and will assist in the generation of a proposed joint annual work plan. LAR-WSU will make model and emission inventory input and output data, and air quality monitoring data widely available in a format agreed to by the membership. Members with emission inventory functions are responsible for submitting their existing emission inventory data on a periodic basis to LAR.

The responsibility for generating the automated air quality predictions for the Region will be shared by LAR-WSU and the USDA Forest Service Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory. The University of Washington provides WRF weather simulations as part of the Northwest Regional Modeling Consortium.

An administrative chair, designated by the group, facilitates the meetings, generates draft meeting agendas based on items received from the membership, and ensures that decisions and meetings are documented. The chair's term will be two years. It can be extended a year with a simple majority vote. In general, the chairmanship will rotate among the three state air quality agencies of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Operations

For each project undertaken by NW-AIRQUEST, there will be an "executive sponsor" from one of the sustaining members. This person will be responsible for assuring NW-AIRQUEST's project goals are carried out and responsible for reporting back results and updates to NW-AIRQUEST if none come from the project principal investigator.

The group will generally operate through consensus decision-making for common-regional projects and administrative matters. In the rare event that consensus cannot be achieved, any sustaining or collaborative member may call for a vote at any time on any issue of concern, providing a quorum consisting of three-fifths of the total number of regularly participating voting member organizations is present. At least half of the voting members present must vote yes in order for a motion to pass. The same policies apply to sustaining members for decisions related to common-regional projects.

Publications will not appear under the name of the NW-AIRQUEST unless a unanimous decision to do so is made.

Meetings

At least four meetings will be held annually: a face-to-face business and science meeting, and three science meetings as part of the Northwest Regional Modeling Consortium meetings. The purpose of the business meeting is to finalize the annual work plan. The science meetings will be an opportunity for peer review, evaluation and collaboration, and to assess long-term scientific direction. Minutes of the business meetings and all decisions will be maintained and approved by the members.

Active and Expiry Date

This instrument is executed as of the last date shown below and expires five years from that date at which time it will be subject to review and renewal.

Non-Fund Obligating Document

This instrument is neither a fiscal nor a funds obligation document. Any endeavor involving reimbursement or contribution of funds between the parties to this instrument will be handled in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and procedures including those for Government procurement and printing. Such endeavors will be outlined in separate agreements that shall be made in writing by representatives of the parties and shall be independently authorized by appropriate statutory authority. This instrument does not provide such authority. Specifically, this instrument does not establish authority for noncompetitive award to the cooperator of any contract or other agreement. Any contract or agreement for training or other services must fully comply with all applicable requirements for competition.

Members

Members - December 2010

The Sustaining Members are:

Federal:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Region 10

Tribes in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho:

Nez Perce Tribe

State:

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
    Oregon Local Air Agencies
     • Lane Regional Air Protection Agency
Washington Department of Ecology
    Washington Local Air Agencies
     • Benton County Clean Air Agency
     • Northwest Regional Clean Air Agency
     • Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency
     • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
     • Southwest Clean Air Agency
     • Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency
     • Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency

Institutions:

University of Washington
Washington State University

The Collaborative Members are:

International:

Environment Canada
BC Ministry of Environment
Metro Vancouver

Federal:

USDA Forest Service, Region 6
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
National Park Service, Pacific West Region

State:

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Institutions:



The Associate Members are:

     None identified at this time

Workplan

Workplan

Introduction

The clean air acts of the US and Canada provide air quality managers specific motivation to protect and enhance local and regional air quality. In the Pacific Northwest, current concerns that derive from legislative mandates include visibility and the health impacts of fine particulates (PM2.5), the exposure levels of air toxics, mitigation of regional haze, continued occurrences of elevated ozone, and assessment and mitigation of source impacts, as well as transport to Class I areas. At the same time, the NW-CAPP meeting in June 2003 formalized the idea that future decisions related to these, and other, air quality issues be based on sound science which implies a clear understanding of the relationships between pollutant sources, pollutant transport and fate in the atmosphere, and, ultimately, pollutant concentrations and public exposure in receptor areas.

To provide air quality managers with the sound scientific foundation needed to address current and future air quality issues, the Northwest International Air Quality Environmental Science & Technology Center (NW-AIRQUEST) has been established. NW-AIRQUEST is a virtual science center to support air quality management within the region. Participants include technical staff from local, state, and provincial agencies, university researchers, and scientists from U.S. EPA, the Forest Service, Park Service, and Environment Canada. In this work plan, we briefly outline current work within NW-AIRQUEST and then describe specific tasks to continue to build our capabilities and understanding of urban and regional air quality in the Pacific Northwest.

Work Plan

We have identified several areas where we will concentrate our activities; we expect these areas will continue to be focal areas this year and in the future. For each these areas, we will convene several working groups to develop specific plans and to proceed with analyses and specific tasks where appropriate.

NW-AIRQUEST Activity Areas

* sharing of data
* emissions
* monitoring
* model output
* monitoring
* analysis of current networks
* new types
* new locations
* evaluation
* inventory
* monitoring
* modeling
* support of operations
* smoke management
* air quality forecasts
* use of satellite observations
* liaison with other organizations
* THORpex
* MM5 Consortium
* WRAP
* BlueSky Consortium
* FCAMMS
* NOAA/EPA AQ Forecasting
* STAPPA/ALAPCO
* WESTAR

For these areas, the working groups will operate through regular email and scheduled calls. Reports from each group will be given to the entire group on a regular basis. The goal in each case is to develop specific goals and tasks that address the topic. For example, the working group on monitoring will consider our current situation in terms of monitoring networks, monitoring goals, ways to take advantage of new methods, and needs for re-consideration of current network designs, among others.

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