Influence of trains on air quality in Whatcom County?

$13,172
Raised
109%
Funded on 12/05/14
Successfully Funded
  • $13,172
    pledged
  • 109%
    funded
  • Funded
    on 12/05/14

About This Project

There is a proposal to significantly increase the number of trains carrying coal through Washington State, but at present little is known about the likely health impacts from this plan. Our project will examine air quality for people living near the tracks in Whatcom County.

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What is the context of this research?

Quantify the emissions and particulate matter concentrations by train type (passenger, freight, coal) for a 4 week period during the fall 2014 or early winter 2015.

What is the significance of this project?

At present, there is a proposal to increase the diesel train traffic through Washington State to ship coal to ports along the coast. Yet we know very little about the air quality impacts from train traffic along the route. Some evidence suggestions that trains carrying coal may be a source of coal dust to the air and water. During the first phase of this project, we made measurements in Seattle in 2013. The results were published in a scientific paper here:
http://www.atmospolres.com/issue52.html

What are the goals of the project?

This project will build on previous work in Seattle that was successfully crowd funded (Do coal and diesel trains make for unhealthy air?). That project will use a similar sensor package to measure size segregated Particulate Matter (PM), along with meteorology and a web camera and use it for one month at a site in Whatcom County to measure pollution from trains. This data will be analyzed to answer the questions:
1. How do current trains impact air quality for people living near the rail lines?
2. How might future air quality be impacted if rail traffic is substantially increased?

Budget

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The data analysis for this work is fairly labor intensive. The budget will pay student and a technician salaries and travel costs in the region. We will also use some of the funds to pay for the publication charges for an open access journal. Unfortunately we have received no government funding to support this critical analysis.

Meet the Team

Dan Jaffe
Dan Jaffe
Professor of Chemistry and Atmospheric Sciences-University of Washington

Affiliates

Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1979. Master of Science, Chemistry, University of Washington, 1983.
Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Washington,. 1987.
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Team Bio

I am a Professor at the University of Washington and an expert on air quality. My research team has published over 120 scientific papers and conducted dozens of air quality studies in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe with funding from NSF, NASA, NOAA, etc. I have participated on review and advisory panels for the NSF, NASA, EPA, NOAA and the National Academy of Sciences and my work is widely cited in the scientific literature. Learn more about my research here. Our previous work on trains and air quality (funded by Experiment.com) was published here:
http://www.atmospolres.com/issue52.html

Thank so much to everyone who has supported this important research!

Dan

Dan Jaffe

I am a Professor at the University of Washington and an expert on air quality. My research team has published over 100 scientific papers and conducted dozens of air quality studies in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe with funding from NSF, NASA, NOAA, etc. I have participated on review and advisory panels for the NSF, NASA, EPA, NOAA and the National Academy of Sciences and my work is widely cited in the scientific literature. Learn more about my research here. I also have a previous study of air quality in the Columbia River Gorge: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/9/7997/2009/acp-9-7997-2009.html

Additional Information

Here is a photo of "Team Apollo" working near the rail lines in the Columbia River Gorge this past summer.


This work will largely be conducted by students from UW and/or WWU.

Project Backers

  • 54Backers
  • 109%Funded
  • $13,172Total Donations
  • $243.93Average Donation
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