BOX 1–1 NARSTO Particulate Matter Assessment Charge to the Assessment and Analysis Team

The Charge

The NARSTO charter includes collaboration of public-private research on particulate matter in air (PM) and calls for scientifically credible assessments and guidance for air quality managers and policy-makers. Therefore the Executive Assembly and Steering Committee charges the Assessment and Analysis Team to prepare an assessment (PM Assessment) of the state of scientific understanding of the atmospheric aerosol as it relates directly to policy questions and program management associated with implementing any new PM standards. Science topics to be addressed include air quality measurement methods and data, emissions information, atmospheric processes, and air quality modeling as they guide strategy development and implementation to reduce health and visibility impacts of PM.

Be mindful of the need to organize all of the scientific information presented such that it addresses and informs the policy issues facing environmental managers and regulators to the extent possible.*

Priorities should be tied to the decision-making process, that is, how will the new knowledge help make better decisions to improve air quality.

Provide explicit consideration of how implications of the science, or recent advances in the science, could apply to new approaches to reducing PM concentrations.

Be mindful of the treatment of interconnections among air quality issues: the multi-pollutant atmosphere.

*Adapted from: Review of the NARSTO Draft Report: An Assessment of Tropospheric Ozone Pollution—A North American Perspective by the Committee

The PM Assessment needs to be concise, scientifically credible, reasonably brief but comprehensive in its discussion, focusing attention on the strengths and weaknesses in current science underpinnings of air quality management tools. Specifically, the PM Assessment must contain an orderly presentation of the elements of the PM problem that starts with a definition of the problem and then lays out the issues, as policy questions and corresponding science question, to be resolved. This will include a discussion of where scientific knowledge appears to be sufficient, where important uncertainties lie and where future research would assist PM management in North America. Within this framework authors will explain why various scientific aspects of the PM issue are important to the policy community, provide direction as to what additional information could contribute to regulatory and other government decisions and thereby contribute to the overall priority setting for research within NARSTO. The PM Assessment is to be suitable for audiences consisting of air quality policy and management decision-makers, science-policy analysts, research managers, the science community, and the public. The publication of this PM Assessment report is targeted for the end of 2002.

The NARSTO PM Assessment should attempt to evaluate critically the reliability and applicability of the technical and scientific tools currently available to support decision making for PM management. Discussion should include implications of current monitoring approaches, air quality modeling, and its inputs such as emissions, meteorological factors, and aerosol processing. The assessment also should address the requirements perceived to be needed for substantial improvement of these tools that are within reach of scientific investigations in the next five to ten years. The judgement of the meaning or definition of subjective terms like reliability and substantial improvement are left to the discretion of the team.

Goals and Specific Objectives

The overall goal for the PM Assessment is to fully describe how current knowledge and future research can aid air quality policy and management decision making. To satisfy this goal several specific objectives are to met.

  1. Gain an understanding from decision-makers of information needs and constraints, including economic, policy, and implementation boundaries.



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