Golden Triangle, United States
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Wickham J.D.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Stehman S.V.,SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry | Gass L.,U.S. Geological Survey | Dewitz J.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 2 more authors.
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2013

Release of NLCD 2006 provides the first wall-to-wall land-cover change database for the conterminous United States from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data. Accuracy assessment of NLCD 2006 focused on four primary products: 2001 land cover, 2006 land cover, land-cover change between 2001 and 2006, and impervious surface change between 2001 and 2006. The accuracy assessment was conducted by selecting a stratified random sample of pixels with the reference classification interpreted from multi-temporal high resolution digital imagery. The NLCD Level II (16 classes) overall accuracies for the 2001 and 2006 land cover were 79% and 78%, respectively, with Level II user's accuracies exceeding 80% for water, high density urban, all upland forest classes, shrubland, and cropland for both dates. Level I (8 classes) accuracies were 85% for NLCD 2001 and 84% for NLCD 2006. The high overall and user's accuracies for the individual dates translated into high user's accuracies for the 2001-2006 change reporting themes water gain and loss, forest loss, urban gain, and the no-change reporting themes for water, urban, forest, and agriculture. The main factor limiting higher accuracies for the change reporting themes appeared to be difficulty in distinguishing the context of grass. We discuss the need for more research on land-cover change accuracy assessment. © 2012.

Simon H.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Bhave P.V.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Swall J.L.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Frank N.H.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Malm W.C.,National Park Service
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2011

Data from the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network are used to estimate organic mass to organic carbon (OM/OC) ratios across the United States by extending previously published multiple regression techniques. Our new methodology addresses common pitfalls of multiple regression including measurement uncertainty, colinearity of covariates, dataset selection, and model selection. As expected, summertime OM/OC ratios are larger than wintertime values across the US with all regional median OM/OC values tightly confined between 1.80 and 1.95. Further, we find that OM/OC ratios during the winter are distinctly larger in the eastern US than in the West (regional medians are 1.58, 1.64, and 1.85 in the great lakes, southeast, and northeast regions, versus 1.29 and 1.32 in the western and central states). We find less spatial variability in long-term averaged OM/OC ratios across the US (90% of our multiyear regressions estimate OM/OC ratios between 1.37 and 1.94) than previous studies (90% fell between 1.30 and 2.10). We attribute this difference largely to the inclusion of EC as a covariate in previous regression studies. Due to the colinearity of EC and OC, we find that up to one-quarter of the OM/OC estimates in a previous study are biased low. Assumptions about OC measurement artifacts add uncertainty to our estimates of OM/OC. In addition to estimating OM/OC ratios, our technique reveals trends that may be contrasted with conventional assumptions regarding nitrate, sulfate, and soil across the IMPROVE network. For example, our regressions show pronounced seasonal and spatial variability in both nitrate volatilization and sulfate neutralization and hydration. © 2011 Author(s).

Compton J.E.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Harrison J.A.,Washington State University | Dennis R.L.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Greaver T.L.,National Center for Environmental Assessment | And 4 more authors.
Ecology Letters | Year: 2011

Ecology Letters (2011) 14: 804-815 Human alteration of the nitrogen (N) cycle has produced benefits for health and well-being, but excess N has altered many ecosystems and degraded air and water quality. US regulations mandate protection of the environment in terms that directly connect to ecosystem services. Here, we review the science quantifying effects of N on key ecosystem services, and compare the costs of N-related impacts or mitigation using the metric of cost per unit of N. Damage costs to the provision of clean air, reflected by impaired human respiratory health, are well characterized and fairly high (e.g. costs of ozone and particulate damages of $28 per kg NOx-N). Damage to services associated with productivity, biodiversity, recreation and clean water are less certain and although generally lower, these costs are quite variable (<$2.2-56 per kg N). In the current Chesapeake Bay restoration effort, for example, the collection of available damage costs clearly exceeds the projected abatement costs to reduce N loads to the Bay ($8-15 per kg N). Explicit consideration and accounting of effects on multiple ecosystem services provides decision-makers an integrated view of N sources, damages and abatement costs to address the significant challenges associated with reducing N pollution. Published 2011. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Geller J.B.,Moss Landing Marine Laboratories | Darling J.A.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Carlton J.T.,Williams College
Annual Review of Marine Science | Year: 2010

The extent to which the geographic distributions of marine organisms have been reshaped by human activities remains underappreciated, and so does, consequently, the impact of invasive species on marine ecosystems. The application of molecular genetic data in fields such as population genetics, phylogeography, and evolutionary biology have improved our ability to make inferences regarding invasion histories. Genetic methods have helped to resolve longstanding questions regarding the cryptogenic status of marine species, facilitated recognition of cryptic marine biodiversity, and provided means to determine the sources of introduced marine populations and to begin to recover the patterns of anthropogenic reshuffling of the ocean's biota. These approaches stand to aid materially in the development of effective management strategies and sustainable science-based policies. Continued advancements in the statistical analysis of genetic data promise to overcome some existing limitations of current approaches. Still other limitations will be best addressed by concerted collaborative and multidisciplinary efforts that recognize the important synergy between understanding the extent of biological invasions and coming to a more complete picture of both modern-day and historical marine biogeography. © 2010 by Annual Reviews.

Parshionikar S.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Laseke I.,Program and Project Management Branch | Fout G.S.,National Exposure Research Laboratory
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2010

Human enteric viruses can be present in untreated and inadequately treated drinking water. Molecular methods, such as the reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), can detect viral genomes in a few hours, but they cannot distinguish between infectious and noninfectious viruses. Since only infectious viruses are a public health concern, methods that not only are rapid but also provide information on the infectivity of viruses are of interest. The intercalating dye propidium monoazide (PMA) has been used for distinguishing between viable and nonviable bacteria with DNA genomes, but it has not been used to distinguish between Infectious and noninfectious enteric viruses with RNA genomes. In this study, PMA in conjunction with RT-PCR (PMA-RTPCR) was used to determine the infectivity of enteric RNA viruses in water. Coxsackievirus, poliovirus, echovirus, and Norwalk virus were rendered noninfectious or inactivated by treatment with heat (72°C, 37°C, and 19°C) or hypochlorite. Infectious or native and noninfectious or inactivated viruses were treated with PMA. This was followed by RNA extraction and RT-PCR or quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis. The PMART-PCR results indicated that PMA treatment did not interfere with detection of infectious or native viruses but prevented detection of noninfectious or inactivated viruses that were rendered noninfectious or inactivated by treatment at 72°C and 37°C and by hypochlorite treatment. However, PMA-RT-PCR was unable to prevent detection of enteroviruses that were rendered noninfectious by treatment at 19°C. After PMA treatment poliovirus that was rendered noninfectious by treatment at 37°C was undetectable by qRT-PCR, but PMA treatment did not affect detection of Norwalk virus. PMA-RT-PCR was also shown to be effective for detecting infectious poliovirus in the presence of noninfectious virus and in an environmental matrix. We concluded that PMA can be used to differentiate between potentially infectious and noninfectious viruses under the conditions defined above. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Simon H.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Bhave P.V.,National Exposure Research Laboratory
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Modeled ratios of organic mass to organic carbon (OM/OC) and oxygen to carbon (n O/n C) in organic particulate matter are presented across the US for the first time and evaluated extensively against ambient measurements. The base model configuration systematically underestimates OM/OC ratios during winter and summer months. Model performance is greatly improved by applying source-specific OM/OC ratios to the primary organic aerosol (POA) emissions and incorporating a new parametrization to simulate oxidative aging of POA in the atmosphere. These model improvements enable simulation of urban-scale gradients in OM/OC with values in urban areas as much as 0.4 lower than in the surrounding regions. Modeled OM/OC and n O/n C ratios in January range from 1.4 to 2.0 and 0.2 to 0.6, respectively. In July, modeled OM/OC and n O/n C ratios range from 1.4 to 2.2 and 0.2 to 0.8, respectively. Improved model performance during winter is attributed entirely to our application of source-specific OM/OC ratios to the inventory. During summer, our treatment of oxidative aging also contributes to improved performance. Advancements described in this paper are codified in the latest public release of the Community Multiscale Air Quality model, CMAQv5.0.

Sickles Ii J.E.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Shadwick D.S.,Computer Sciences Corp.
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2015

Data collected in the eastern US between 1990 and 2009 at 34 paired dry and wet monitoring sites are examined. A goal is to evaluate the air quality impacts occurring between 1990 and 2009 that are associated with concurrent legislatively mandated changes in emissions. Four 5-year periods, 1990-1994 (P1), 1995-1999 (P2), 2000-2004 (P3), and 2005-2009 (P4) are considered, with a primary focus on P1-to-P4 changes. Results suggest that legislatively mandated air pollution mitigation strategies have been successful in improving air quality and reducing atmospheric deposition in the eastern US.

Respective P1-to-P4 reductions of estimated sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in the eastern US are 50 and 42%. Corresponding behavior of the following metrics associated with these emissions reductions is examined: monitored atmospheric concentrations of SO2, aerosol sulfate (SO4), and oxidized sulfur (S); dry, wet, and total deposition of S; monitored atmospheric concentrations of nitric acid (HNO3), aerosol nitrate (NO3), and their sum, oxidized nitrogen (OxN); dry, wet, and total deposition of OxN; monitored atmospheric concentration of aerosol ammonium (NH4); dry, wet, and total deposition of NH4; summed monitored atmospheric concentration of oxidized and reduced nitrogen (N); dry, wet, and total deposition of N; wet deposition of hydrogen ion (H+); monitored atmospheric concentration of ozone (O3); dry deposition of O3; and the summed monitored atmospheric concentration of aerosol NO3, SO4, and NH4 (Clean Air Status and Trends Network particulate matter-CASTNET PM). Other metrics (e.g., ratios of dry to total deposition) are also considered.

Selected period-to-period changes of air quality and deposition metrics at site, regional, and seasonal scales are discussed. As an example, despite P1-to-P3 reductions in estimated emissions of both SO2 and NOx, aerosol NO3 concentration increased in the east, with widespread wintertime numerical increases in both aerosol NO3 concentration and CASTNET PM. However, a reversal of this behavior is associated with continuing P3-to-P4 reductions of SO2 and NOx emissions. Thus, additional P3-to-P4 reductions of these emissions, especially NOx, appear to have made progress in altering the chemical regime of the wintertime eastern US atmosphere so that future emissions reductions and their resulting reductions in aerosol concentrations may no longer be accompanied by sub-linear changes (or actual increases) in CASTNET PM.

Cashdollar J.L.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Wymer L.,National Exposure Research Laboratory
Journal of Applied Microbiology | Year: 2013

Summary: Since the beginning of environmental virology in the mid-twentieth century, a key challenge to scientists in the environmental field has been how to collect, isolate and detect pathogenic viruses from water that is used for drinking and/or recreational purposes. Early studies investigated different types of membrane filters, with more sophisticated technologies being developed more recently. The purpose of this study was to look at the current state of the science of methods for the concentration of viruses from water. Several technologies were reviewed, and associated data were included in a meta-analysis which showed that electronegative filters, electropositive filters and ultrafilters are comparable in performance and that significant differences in recovery are due to virus type rather than filter type, water matrix or sample volume. This information is useful, as it will help to determine which method(s) should be used, particularly if there is a specific viral type being targeted for a particular study. In addition, it will be helpful when sampling different environmental water matrices and/or when budget allowance must be taken into consideration. Taken together, this will be useful in performing viral occurrence studies, which ultimately can help ensure safer water for both humans and the environment. © 2013 The Society for Applied Microbiology No claim to US Government Works.

George B.J.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | McCurdy T.,National Exposure Research Laboratory
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology | Year: 2011

This paper describes an evaluation of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for potential use in modeling human exposures to environmental pollutants. The ATUS is a large, on-going, cross-sectional survey of where Americans spend time and what activities they undertake in those locations. The data are reported as a series of sequential activities over a 24-h time period - a "diary day" starting at 0400 hours. Between 12,000 and 13,000 surveys are obtained each year and the Bureau has plans to continue ATUS for the foreseeable future. The ATUS already has about 73,000 diary days of data, more than twice as many as that which currently exists in the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Consolidated Human Activity Database (CHAD) that the Agency uses for exposure modeling purposes. There are limitations for using ATUS in modeling human exposures to environmental pollutants. The ATUS does not report the location for a number of activities regarded as personal. For 2006, personal activities with missing location information totaled 572 min/day, on average, for survey participants: about 40% of their day. Another limitation is that ATUS does not distinguish between indoor and outdoor activities at home, two of the traditional locational demarcations used in human exposure modeling. This lack of information affects exposure estimates to both indoor and outdoor air pollutants and potentially affects non-dietary ingestion estimates for children, which can vary widely depending on whether or not a child is indoors. Finally, a detailed analysis of the work travel activity in a subsample from ATUS 2006 indicates that the coding scheme is not fully consistent with a CHAD-based exposure modeling approach. For ATUS respondents in this subsample who reported work as an activity, roughly 48% of their days were missing work travel at one or both ends of the work shift or reported within work-shift travel inconsistently. An extensive effort would be needed to recode work travel data from ATUS for EPA's exposure modeling purposes. © 2011 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Teng Q.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Ekman D.R.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Huang W.,National Exposure Research Laboratory | Collette T.W.,National Exposure Research Laboratory
Analyst | Year: 2012

There is a pressing need to increase the throughput of NMR analysis in fields such as metabolomics and drug discovery. Direct injection (DI) NMR automation is recognized to have the potential to meet this need due to its suitability for integration with the 96-well plate format. However, DI NMR has not been widely used as a result of some insurmountable technical problems; namely: carryover contamination, sample diffusion (causing reduction of spectral sensitivity), and line broadening caused by entrapped air bubbles. Several variants of DI NMR, such as flow injection analysis (FIA) and microflow NMR, have been proposed to address one or more of these issues, but not all of them. The push-through direct injection technique reported here overcomes all of these problems. The method recovers samples after NMR analysis, uses a "brush-wash" routine to eliminate carryover, includes a procedure to push wash solvent out of the flow cell via the outlet to prevent sample diffusion, and employs an injection valve to avoid air bubbles. Herein, we demonstrate the robustness, efficiency, and lack of carryover characteristics of this new method, which is ideally suited for relatively high throughput analysis of the complex biological tissue extracts used in metabolomics, as well as many other sample types. While simple in concept and setup, this new method provides a substantial improvement over current approaches. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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