Twice per day NOAA's National Weather Services publishes digital maps that show national forecasts for ozone, smoke, and dust. Ozone is shown as 1-hour and 8-hour concentrations. Official Air Quality point forecasts, issued by state and local air quality forecasters, along with additional information on air quality can be found under EPA's AIRNow site. Surface and column-averaged concentrations of predicted smoke for large fires are displayed as 1-hour averages, updated each day.
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center provides daily forecast maps of Ultraviolet (UV) Index for 58 U.S. cities, colored coded to their anticipated level of exposure. According to the World Health Organization, prolonged exposure to the sun's UV radiation may result in acute and chronic health effects on our skin, eyes, and immune system.
The NOAA Smoke Forecasting System integrates satellite information on the location of wildfires with weather data inputs from the North American Mesoscale model and smoke dispersion simulations. The result is a daily prediction of smoke transport and concentration 48 hours into the future. The model also incorporates U.S. Forest Service estimates for wildfire smoke emissions based on vegetation cover.
Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series
December 27, 2012
The Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, gives a straightforward overview of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategies that local governments can use to achieve economic, environmental, social, and human health benefits. The series covers energy efficiency, transportation, community planning and design, solid waste and materials management, and renewable energy.
Atmospheric pollution manifests itself in many ways, ranging from reduced visibility to dangerous respiratory problems and discomfort. Atmospheric pollution can be gaseous (e.g. ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides) and/or particulate (e.g. soot, dust). The degree of pollution is dependent on a number of factors: source, transport from source, and build up over time through air stagnation. The stagnation index maps show where in the United States air has stagnated, leading to potential impacts on human and environmental health.
This board game, designed for middle school students, introduces the concepts of energy use in our lives and the real impact that personal choices can have on our energy consumption, energy bills, and fuel supply.
This activity engages students in learning about ways to become energy efficient consumers. Students examine how different countries and regions around the world use energy over time, as reflected in night light levels. They then track their own energy use, identify ways to reduce their individual energy consumption, and explore how community choices impact the carbon footprint.
Students conduct an energy audit to determine how much carbon dioxide their family is releasing into the atmosphere and then make recommendations for minimizing their family's carbon footprint. Students are specifically asked to understand the units of power and energy to determine the cost of running various household appliances. Finding the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for different types of energy and determining ways of reducing carbon dioxide output is the outcome of the lesson.
The activity follows a progression that examines the CO2 content of various gases, explores the changes in the atmospheric levels of CO2 from 1958 to 2000 from the Mauna Loa Keeling curve, and the relationship between CO2 and temperature over the past 160,000 years. This provides a foundation for examining individuals' input of CO2 to the atmosphere and how to reduce it.