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Source: University of Northern British Columbia

UNBC Leads Research on Local Air Quality

November 7, 2006

UNBC researchers are currently conducting a variety of studies that will provide Prince George with the best information yet on how to improve the City’s air quality.

The research projects are examining a number of factors related to the air pollution in Prince George, focusing on very small particles that are below 2.5 microns in size. These particles are believed to have the greatest health effects as they can be breathed deeply into the lungs. The research is gathering data on a variety of items that contribute to the pollution problem: • Emission sources and the amount of pollutants they contribute • Pollution levels at different locations around the City • The chemical composition of the pollutants • Year-round data on temperature, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction

"Our most comprehensive study will combine all of this data into a computerized air pollution dispersal model for Prince George that will allow us to determine where we need to focus our efforts," says Peter Jackson, a professor of Environmental Science and Engineering and a member of the Prince George Air Quality Implementation Committee’s Research Working Group. "With the computer model, we’ll be able to see how pollutants from all of the sources affect the air quality at various locations around the City. We’ll be able to use the model to manipulate the emission values from different sources to help us determine those that have the greatest effect on the largest number of people. The computing power required for this is immense, but it’s now possible in Prince George with new high-performance computing capacity at UNBC."

The new research will provide specifics on the individual contributors and their effects on air quality, leading to effective action to improve local air quality. It’s expected that the results will start to become available in early 2008.

The research is being funded by the City of Prince George, the BC Ministry of the Environment, Environment Canada, Northern Health, and Canfor.

Contact: Peter Jackson, Environmental Science and Engineering professor, UNBC – 250.960.5985 Rob van Adrichem, Director of Media and Public Relations, UNBC – 250.960.5622



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