Written by Christopher Hinojosa
Overview: Air quality forecasters use scientific data, GIS and field studies to combat a worldwide problem: air pollution. While air quality has improved in North America over the past three decades, exposure to airborne pollutants still has a devastating effect on plant, animal and human life and habitats. While jobs vary from area to area, and may be project-specific in their scope, the following tasks are ones that air quality forecast personnel can expect to encounter on the job: Read current research and studies to maintain an understanding of developments in the field; Survey yields of economically important agriculture in relation to ozone levels; Survey air pollution related illnesses; Provide data to economists and policy makers to drive regulations for clean air; Create systems to warn the public when air pollution levels are above specified levels; Determine criteria that may make a certain demographic more vulnerable to airborne pollutants; Conduct fieldwork related to; Ensure that existing emission control programs are implemented correctly; Determine a rubric for 'incidental' or infrequent air pollution events and a process for alerting stakeholders effectively; Work with commercial and private aviation agencies to plan and advise appropriate safety precautions when skies are hazy; Use data to produce 1-3 day ozone forecasts; Draw on climatological trends to determine ozone conditions; Analyze and model statistical methods with linear regression equations to forecast future pollution; Use neural networks to understand and develop algorithms for patterning climate and pollution data; Use 3D modelling to mathematically represent the factors that affect ambient pollution levels.
Geographers at work: Environmental Geographers, Health Geographers, Physical Geographers
Skills: Geographic Information Science, Qualitative Methods, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Mapping and Modeling, Computer Programming, Field Methods, Meteorology, Computer Programming