Air Quality Technology
Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Technology
The NRCS Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team is responsible for integrating air quality and atmospheric change science and technology into relevant NRCS conservation programs and operations.
NRCS developed a qualitative ranking of which Conservation Practice Standards can be effectively applied to the Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Sequestration Resource Concern. This ranking quickly and easily allows a conservation planner to assess how well a given practice may perform either reducing GHG emissions or promoting carbon sequestration.
NRCS has a new web tool for farmers and ranchers called COMET 2.0 that estimates soil carbon sequestration. Storing, or “sequestering,” carbon in soil as organic matter and in trees helps reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. COMET 2.0 was field tested by people in crop production, livestock grazing and conservation planning in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming.
The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) is a daily time-step simulation model which can estimate total soil loss and airborne particulate matter resulting from wind erosion events. WEPS is a process-based, continuous, daily time-step model that simulates weather, field conditions, and erosion.
The National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT) has been developed with support from the USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program to assist livestock and poultry producers in determining the areas in their operations where there are opportunities to make changes that result in reduced air emissions. NAQSAT is based on the most accurate, credible data currently available regarding mitigation strategies for air emissions of ammonia, methane, volatile organic compounds, hydrogen sulfide, particulates, and odor.
The Southern Smoke Management Guide made use of a simple graphical smoke screening system. This system relied upon a simple protractor to use with paper maps in marking out a smoke impact zone. The Southern High Resolution Modeling Consortium (SHRMC) has created an interactive Google map version of the methodology to help identify smoke sensitive targets. The user can enter a location, fire size, ignition method, wind direction and simple fuels information to view potential downwind smoke impact areas, and with the Google maps capability, can zoom and pan to identify roads, schools, towns etc. in those impact areas.