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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 21, 2005

Engineering Researchers Receive NASA Team Award, $750,000 Grant

A group of University of Iowa College of Engineering researchers recently received the NASA Group Achievement Award at the annual NASA Honor Awards Ceremony at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. for its contribution to one of the most comprehensive environmental studies of its kind. In addition, the team has received a three-year, $750,000 NASA grant to work on the second phase of the project.

The project for which they were honored, called the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment -- North America (INTEX-NA) was a major 2004 study over North America where NASA deployed spacecraft, aircraft and surface sensors to investigate the transport and transformation of gases and aerosols across continents. Sponsored by NASA's Tropospheric Chemistry Program, the study provided an understanding of the flow of gases and aerosols entering and exiting North America that will help to improve air quality and climate research.

Early data analysis of the Asian air influence on North America shows pollution to be far more pervasive than expected in the summer, with manmade pollution, smoke from fires, Asian and stratospheric influences coexisting in the troposphere in stratified layers.

The new NASA grant is for a project called INTEX-B, to be conducted jointly with the National Science Foundation's MIRAGE (Megacity Impacts on Regional and Global Environments) experiment from February through May of 2006. The experiment has two components, the first of which will study the impact of emissions from a megacity -- Mexico City -- on regional air quality. The second part will investigate the long-range transport of pollutants from Asia. The Iowa team will be stationed in Mexico City, Hawaii and Alaska during the experiment.

Commenting on the NASA award to the UI team, Scott Hubbard, director of NASA's Ames Research Center, said: "This is one of the most prestigious awards a group can receive, and is presented to selected groups who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission."

The UI team includes: Bhupesh Adhikary, graduate assistant; Gregory R. Carmichael, team leader, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, co-director of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) and College of Engineering associate dean for graduate programs and research; Benjamin Jelley, U.S. Department of Energy Global Change undergraduate summer research fellow from Texas Tech University; Marcela Mena, graduate assistant in environmental engineering; Youhua Tang, CGRER assistant research scientist; and Narisa Thongboonchoo, graduate assistant in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

Internationally recognized for Asian pollution studies, Carmichael and his team research high-speed supercomputing, sensitivity analysis and air pollution control policy to support air pollution studies. His three-dimensional atmospheric chemistry model currently is used to quantify the regional and global fate and impact of man-made chemicals released into the atmosphere. In 2004, he received $770,000 in NASA and NOAA grants for air pollution studies in addition to a 2002 five-year, $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to use information technology to develop pollution "weather forecasts" and expand the frontiers of atmospheric chemistry and air pollution science.

In connection with MIRAGE, William Eichinger, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the UI College of Engineering, faculty research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering and CGRER researcher, recently received a two-year, $322,000 NSF MIRAGE grant to investigate the chemical composition of smog in Mexico City by using a mobile lidar (laser radar) system.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu