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MEDIA ADVISORY: Judd Gregg to Open UNH World-Class Air Monitoring Observatory Aug. 11
By David Sims
Science Writer
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
(603) 862-5369

August 6, 2008

WHAT: U.S. Senator Judd Gregg will help open the University of New Hampshire's new atmospheric observatory at Thompson Farm in Durham at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, August 11. Gregg has been instrumental in securing funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the university's world-class AIRMAP program, which is comprised of six observatories strategically located around the region. Thompson Farm is the network's anchor facility. The new observatory houses a battery of state-of-the-art instrumentation and has an 80-foot steel tower that rises above the forest canopy. Over 200 atmospheric compounds are sampled from the tower providing unprecedented insight into the chemical makeup and regional transport of New England's air. The new facility, which also includes a 120-foot "flux" tower nestled into the woods, will allow UNH scientists to investigate forest-atmosphere chemical interactions in more detail, thereby providing clues into how New England's heavily wooded landscape plays a role in the dynamics of the region's changing air quality and climate.

WHEN: Monday, August 11, 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Thompson Farm, Durham, N.H.
Link to map and directions:

BACKGROUND: Robert Talbot, principal investigator for AIRMAP, says, "The Thompson Farm atmospheric observatory is possibly without peer among facilities worldwide making comprehensive, continuous, long-term measurements of the chemical composition of regional air masses." Such long-term measurements are critical if scientists are to understand both air quality and climate change dynamics in the region. Continuous measurements are also crucial for putting data gathered during intensive field campaigns into a larger context. For example, the UNH observatories served as the foundation for a massive field campaign conducted in 2004. Known as the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT), the six-week campaign involved ships, aircraft, satellites, and the ground-based observatories. Such precision, long-term measurements will allow modelers to more accurately simulate atmospheric dynamics and climate change scenarios.

Talbot adds, "Senator Gregg's leadership and continued support for the AIRMAP program has made this critically important research at UNH possible, and has helped establish the university as a national center for atmospheric investigation."

For more on the AIRMAP program visit

RSVP: Members of the media planning to attend should contact David Sims at (603) 862-5369 or