The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are planning a joint field study of atmospheric processes over California and the eastern Pacific coastal region in 2010. The goal of the program is to study in California the important issues at the nexus of the air quality and climate change problems in order to provide scientific information regarding the trade-offs faced by decision makers when addressing these two inter-related issues - hence the name CalNex 2010.
The Molina Center for Energy and the Environment is planning to coordinate a US-Mexico collaborative study during CalNex 2010 to investigate issues of mutual interest to the two countries along Mexico- California border region. This will involve deploying an experienced ground-based field measurement team aimed at characterizing the emissions from major sources in the California-Mexico border regions; determining the spatial and temporal variability in anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and traditional air pollutants; and assessing possible impact of these emissions on local and regional air quality, human health and climate change.
CalNex-2010 offers a unique opportunity for US-Mexico collaboration since the composition of the atmosphere over the US-Mexico border region is affected by cross-border transport of emissions in both directions. The US and Mexico share a common air basin along the ~200 km border between California and Baja California. The economical activities in this region are heavily influenced by the international trade and commerce between Mexico and the US that mainly occurs through the borders of the sister cities of San Diego–Tijuana and Calexico–Mexicali. The intense anthropogenic activities together with biological and geological sources significantly contribute to the high levels of particle matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), air toxics, and ozone that are commonly observed in the California-Mexico border region. There is mutual interest between the two nations in understanding the chemical and physical properties of the gases and aerosols that originate in this region, along with their transformations and potential impacts on climate and ecosystems.
The cross-border studies are expected to improve our understanding of the importance of different emissions sources (urban, biomass burning, natural) along the Cal-Mex border and the opportunity to study poorly understood but important processes (coupled gas, aerosols, radiation, meteorology) in aging urban air. Furthermore, the educational and capacity building implications are very significant. The proposed field study will provide opportunity for Mexican and US students to work with multi-national experts in different disciplines and opportunity for collaboration between Mexican technical personnel and government officials and international scientists in the border region.