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Researchers to scrutinize megacity pollution during Mexico City field campaign

A team of researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and other institutions is heading to Mexico City to participate in one of the most complex field campaigns ever undertaken in atmospheric chemistry. From March 1 to 29, the team will make multiple research flights in the NSF/NCAR C-130 aircraft and operate ground instruments to investigate the chemical and physical transformation of air pollution as it flows downwind from Mexico City. The team's goal is to assess the pollution's impact on regional and global air quality, climate, and ecosystems. The results are expected to be applicable to megacities (cities with 10 million or more inhabitants) in other locations around the world.

"Mexico City's pollution probably doesn't have a global impact, but all urban areas together do, and the world is urbanizing," explains NCAR scientist Sasha Madronich, one of the project's principal investigators. "If we can understand the pollution impacts of Mexico City, we can apply this new knowledge to other urban areas across the globe."

The project, called MIRAGE (Megacity Impacts of Regional and Global Environments), is led by NCAR in partnership with several U.S. universities and other organizations.

MIRAGE is one component of a set of simultaneous field campaigns collectively called Megacity Initiative: Local and Global Research Observations (MILAGRO). This international effort will observe and quantify air pollution emitted by Mexico City from multiple perspectives. Other components of MILAGRO are led by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Molina Center on Energy and the Environment, and NASA. As part of the broader effort, researchers from more than 60 institutions in the United States, Mexico, and several other nations will convene in Mexico City to coordinate aircraft and ground-based measurements, satellite observations, and computer modeling. The cost of the MILAGRO campaign is estimated to be more than $20 million, wi
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