Developing and Transitioning Numerical Air Quality Models to Improve Air Quality and Public Health Decision-Making in El Salvador and Costa Rica As Part of the Servir Applied Sciences Team

Friday, 19 December 2014
Amy Thomas1, Amy K Huff2, Stephen G Gomori1 and Natasha Sadoff1, (1)Battelle Columbus, Columbus, OH, United States, (2)Pennsylvania State Univ, University Park, PA, United States
In order to enhance the capacity for air quality modeling and improve air quality monitoring and management in the SERVIR Mesoamerica region, members of SERVIR’s Applied Sciences Team (AST) are developing national numerical air quality models for El Salvador and Costa Rica. We are working with stakeholders from the El Salvador Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN); National University of Costa Rica (UNA); the Costa Rica Ministry of the Environment, Energy, and Telecommunications (MINAET); and Costa Rica National Meteorological Institute (IMN), who are leaders in air quality monitoring and management in the Mesoamerica region. Focusing initially on these institutions will build sustainability in regional modeling activities by developing air quality modeling capability that can be shared with other countries in Mesoamerica. The air quality models are based on the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model and incorporate meteorological inputs from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, as well as national emissions inventories from El Salvador and Costa Rica. The models are being optimized for urban air quality, which is a priority of decision-makers in Mesoamerica. Once experimental versions of the modeling systems are complete, they will be transitioned to servers run by stakeholders in El Salvador and Costa Rica. The numerical air quality models will provide decision support for stakeholders to identify 1) high-priority areas for expanding national ambient air monitoring networks, 2) needed revisions to national air quality regulations, and 3) gaps in national emissions inventories. This project illustrates SERVIR’s goal of the transition of science to support decision-making through capacity building in Mesoamerica, and it aligns with the Group on Earth Observations’ health societal benefit theme. This presentation will describe technical aspects of the development of the models and outline key steps in our successful collaboration with the Mesoamerican stakeholders, including the processes of identifying and engaging decision-makers, understanding their requirements and limitations, communicating status updates on a regular basis, and providing sufficient training for end users to be able to utilize the models in a decision-making context.