>> Chet Warren: Our NASA DEVELOP team and the National Park Service partnered together
to locate nitrogen dioxide concentrations in order to study the impacts on the national
parks within the Intermountain region of the United States.
We specifically worked with the Intermountain Region's Air Resource Specialist, Debbie Miller.
>> Debbie Miller: My name is Debbie Miller, and I am an Air Resource Specialist with the
Intermountain Region of the National Park Service.
My job is to help parks protect not only the air but related resources including water,
soils, vegetation, and visibility.
The National Park Services does not normally monitor nitrogen dioxide concentrations directly
Expect for a few places where there is a particular concern.
>> Chet: In order to observe nitrogen dioxide concentrations from 2005 to 2017, our team
employed the Aura Satellite.
Launched July 15, 2004, Aura's purpose is to observe the chemistry and dynamics of Earth's
atmosphere with emphasis on the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.
The Ozone Monitoring Instrument, also known as OMI, is one of the four instruments aboard
Our team utilized OMI due to its ability to track not only the global ozone change, but its
ability to measure trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide.
>> Debbie: Nitrogen Dioxide can react with ammonia to produce extremely small particles
that scatter light, causing haze as well as harming human health.
Haze limits our ability to see the colors, forms, and textures of the landscape, and can
even prevent us from seeing distant views entirely.
>> Chet: Nitrogen dioxide can react with other compounds to form Ozone.
Human and animal health can be negatively impacted by Ozone due to its ability to harm
the lungs and respiratory system.
Ozone can also affect plant health by reducing plant growth and causing visible injury.
>>Debbie: The results of this NASA DEVELOP project will help the Park Service to better understand
where nitrogen dioxide sources are located in the western United States and to identify
areas where atmospheric nitrogen dioxide concentrations are increasing or decreasing over time.
This information will help park management determine how best to work with external partners.
>> Chet: After analyzing data, our team found that areas of nitrogen dioxide concentrations
have decreased from 2005 to 2017 within and surrounding the Intermountain region.
In the next NASA DEVELOP term, the team will continue working with the National Parks Service
focusing on the impacts of aerosols on visibility while also validating our team's initial results.