The lowest part of our atmosphere, the troposphere, contains many elements that sustain life on Earth. However, over time, humans have added chemicals and gases to the atmosphere that have caused damage to living species, including humans. These gases are also known as pollutants, and they can occur in many forms. Because taking time-resolved, surface measurements from space is a relatively new endeavor, the Chemistry and Physics Atmospheric Boundary Layer Experiment (CAPABLE) was created to monitor and observe those pollutants in the troposphere.
Since its installation in 2009, research teams from Pennsylvania State University, the University of Wisconsin and Hampton University have taken measurements at the CAPABLE site, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, who has moved their Hampton Roads air quality measurement site to the CAPABLE site at Langley.
Instruments at the CAPABLE site are measuring pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. The data collected by these instruments help assess the relationship between high-temporal resolution measurements from space and continuous in-situ surface observations of criteria pollutants. Scientists plan to use the data collected at the CAPABLE site for future satellite mission, such as the Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) mission, which will allow scientists to identify the sources and movement of tropospheric pollution over the country.
CAPABLE Site Coordinates: