Interview with Dr. Charles Stanier

Photo by Brynne Schweigel

Dr. Charles Stanier is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa and a member of the Center For Global & Regional Environmental Research (CGRER). Much of his research focuses on air quality and atmospheric aerosols. Recently, I talked with Dr. Stanier over the phone and he detailed five of his current research projects.

The first project discussed dealt with researching the air pollution in the upper Midwest and determining ways to limit the pollution in order to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations:

“One project that we’re working on is with Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium [LADCO] on wintertime air quality in the upper Midwest. We’ve been working at it for about a year and a half now, and we probably have about 6-9 months to go . . . In 2007 the EPA lowered the short-term air quality limits from 65 to 35. That was such a big change because many of the locations in the upper Midwest were sitting right around 35. So, before the change they were well below the limits, but after the change they were right at the standard. What can cause a violation of this standard is that there are a few days each year during the winter of moderately polluted conditions.

“[LADCO] had a three phase project where phase one was to take the measurements, phase two was to summarize the measurements . . .  and the last phase is to see how well air quality models reproduce the episodes and to say what kind of control strategies can be used to reduce NOx [Nitrogen oxide] from mobile sources like cars or stationary sources like electric generating stations. Also, [we are looking for] ammonia controls, which would have to be put on ammonia sources such as manure, sewage treatment plants and automobiles. So, we’re basically figuring out things not to do because they won’t help bring these places into compliance with the clean air act.” Continue reading