Local News

Special Aircraft Takes The Heat To Study Air Quality

Posted August 8, 2001

— For the first time in a year, the state Division of Air Quality has posted a Code Red ozone alert in the Triangle Wednesday.

Code Red

means the air is potentially unhealthy for anyone, regardless of their physical condition. People at risk should avoid moderate exertion and drink plenty of fluids.

While this weather can be too much to take, it is perfect for a special aircraft that studies such conditions.

The Piper Aztec seems unassuming, but it has been craving a week of blistering hot weather.

The aircraft and Dr. Bruce Doddridge are visiting from the University of Maryland, where he studies what creates smog and haze as air moves west to east along the Atlantic states.

Doddridge says he needs hot days to create optimum ozone levels.

Several hot, humid days on the RDU International tarmac, and in the air, will help meteorologists at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources better forecast ozone conditions.

"We have 46 ozone monitors across the state of North Carolina, except they are on the ground, of course. To better understand what is happening at the ground, we need to know what is going on aloft as well," says meteorologist Mike Abraczinskas.

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