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MIT Researchers Awarded $750,000 Grant to Study Climate Change Effects

Release Date: 08/22/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Aug. 22, 2012) – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been awarded $749,931 by the US Environmental Protection Agency to examine the ability of models to represent the presence of extreme air pollution and the weather conditions that are associated with it.

This grant was one of 14 awarded by EPA to universities across the nation for a total of $9 million to fund research on technologies that can help the public and government agencies predict and prepare for the effect extreme weather triggered by climate change may have on the nation’s air and water quality.

The project at MIT, based in Cambridge, Mass., will use advanced statistical techniques to identify the drivers and occurrence of historical and future extreme air quality events in the United States from observations and models.

“We need to know how changes in weather and extreme weather events will affect the quality of our air and water,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Grants like the one EPA awarded to MIT furthers research that can help us understand the impact of such weather on our natural resources as well as our built environment. In turn, this information can help us take steps to reduce the harmful impact on our communities brought by extreme weather events.”

The project involves a collaboration of atmospheric scientists at MIT and the National Center for Atmospheric Research with statisticians at Colorado State University and North Carolina State University.

"We are excited that in this project we are bringing together statisticians who specialize in thinking about extreme events with atmospheric scientists who are concerned with air quality issues,” said project leader Colette Heald at MIT. “It's a great team to tackle this problem and we are looking forward to learning more about the connections between extreme air quality and extreme weather."

The other 13 grants were awarded to: Public Policy Institute of California,
Mississippi State University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, University of Washington, University of South Florida (two grants), Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, University of Texas at Austin, Georgia Institute of Technology, Columbia University, and Cornell University.

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