Dr. Gary A. Morris

   
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VU Meteorology

Research Projects

My current research involves 3 main projects:
1) Tropospheric Ozone Pollution
2) NASA Satellite Data Validation
3) Research in Physics Education (RIPE)

Tropospheric Ozone Pollution
NASA funded us to launch ozonesondes from Valparaiso University and Houston, Texas over the past 3 years. During 2006, the project was part of INTEX-B, NASA's Intercontinetnal Transport Experiment Part B, examining transport of pollution from Asia to North America. Information on this project, including all of our data, can be found on the Valparaiso Univeristy Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project (VU-TOPP) web site. Currently, five undergraduates work on the ozonesonde project.

Houston was named the most polluted city in the nation for the year 2000 due to frequently high levels of ozone at the surface due to urban pollution. While the ground-level ozone is well monitored, profiles of ozone above the city are not. We have developed two research projects to address the current deficiency: an ozonesonde station and a tropospheric ozone lidar laboratory.

Through funding from the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University, NASA, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, we have established an ozonesonde station to make routine measurements of the ozone profiles in the Houston area. Inexpensive balloons and expendible payloads will provide data on the amount of ozone in the boundary layer as well as the free troposphere. The data are useful in evaluating the extent of the ozone pollution problem in Houston as well as serving as a validation tool for other remote sensing data. You can find our data on the Rice University Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project (RU-TOPP), at the Institute for Multidimensional Air Quality Studies web site, and at the Valparaiso University TOPP site.

NASA has featured on its website some of our research highlighting the impact of Alaskan fires on Houston pollution. Click here.

We are applying for funding to establish a tropospheric ozone lidar laboratory. The lidar system employes and ultra-violet laser system to probe the distribution of ozone in the lower atmosphere. Unlike the ozonesondes which only produce one profile per balloon, the lidar can make nearly continuous measurements. Such data will be useful in tracking ozone pollution and developing a better understanding of the causes and diurnal behavior of Houston's ozone pollution.

Currently, NASA has loaned us two instruments useful in measuring ozone: a ground ultra-violet station that sits atop Fondren Library on the Rice University campus measuring ultra-violet flux and the hand-held Microtops instruments, portable devices that allow for easy measurement of total column ozone.

These projects involve collaborators at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Rice University, and the University of Houston.

We are also continuing our Fulbright Scholar Grant research on the impact of pollution from China on air quality in Japan. Two Valparaiso University students accompanied Dr. Morris in August 2009 to Sapporo, Japan, where they prepared, calibrated, and launched balloon-borne instruments to measure ozone and sulfur dioxide. This project involvs collaborators at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the USA and Hokkaido University, the Asia Center for Air Pollution Research, and the Research Institute for Global Change in Japan.

 

 

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