National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) concluded an MOU on ‘Cooperative Air Quality Field Study in Korea (KORUS-AQ)’ on Oct 15, 2015 (Korea time) in NASA’s Langley Research Center, the US. KORUS-AQ is a joint research project between Korea and the U.S. to identify causes of particulate matter and ozone generation in the metropolitan area in Korea and improve the air quality.
This cooperative research is expected to lay the groundwork for the two nations in further improving air environments as well as developing environmental satellites. With the advanced satellites technology and airborne observation techniques of NASA, NIER can enhance accuracy of air quality forecasting and investigate air pollution phenomena in the metropolitan areas. Furthermore, it is expected that technology required for the Korea’s first Geostationary Environmental Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) can be secured in the early stage. On the other hand, NASA can verify its environmental satellite analysis technology with the results from air pollution network measurements and airborne observations.
Following the MOU, the 1st scientists meeting was held for 2 days from the 15th. With around 10 Korean experts from NIER, National Institute of Meteorological Sciences (NIMS), Seoul National University, etc. and 40 NASA researchers taking part, mutual and cooperative approaches, airborne observation paths and action plans were discussed and agreed in the meeting.
The U.S. plans to invest about 10 million dollars (around 12 billion KRW) for the next 3 years in this project. Aside from NASA, 24 American research institutes such as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Harvard University and California Institute of Technology will join the research.