Airborne aspect assists epa at Iowa City Landfill fire

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The tire fire at the Iowa City Landfill has been burning for more than a week, and city officials plan to stoke the flames to put them out faster.

City contractors prepared to launch an operation Monday that will involve using construction equipment to stir the piles of tires so they burn faster, and then covering them with dirt to suppress the burning.

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See EPA on scene report here:
http://www.epaosc.org/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=7892

ASPECT Mission: Assist II

ASSIST II is a  Fourier Transform – Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR)  sensor used as part of the Collaborative Atmosphere Measurement Program (CAMP).  CAMP is an effort sponsored by the US Government to scientifically gather verifiable data that will prove or disprove the theory of global warming.

Fourier transform spectroscopy is defined well on Wikipedia as a measurement technique whereby spectra are collected based on measurements of the coherence of a radiative source, using time-domain or space-domain measurements of the electromagnetic radiation or other type of radiation.

Operationally the ASSIST II  collects ground level water vapor and carbon dioxide data simultaneous with the ASPECT aircraft flying at 10k feet collecting mid-level data and a satellite overhead collecting high level data.  The two areas of operation are over the land and water of Lake Livingston and the land and water near Lamont, Oklahoma.

Data will be collected 4 times, summer, fall, winter and spring however the ASSIST II will collect continuously though out the 12 months.

To read more about EPA activities on Climate change please go to the EPA Climate Change site.

video: Real-time situational awareness information for first responders

Paul Lewis discusses ASPECT, an airborne suite of sensors that provides critical data in emergencies, including the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In 2001 the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) Program became the United States only civil 24/7 operational airborne chemical, radiological, and situational awareness reporting capability. The ASPECT model of operation combines an airborne operational remote sensing suite with a research and development support team to provide essential situational awareness information to first responders and their local, state and federal lead agencies in accordance with the National Contingency Plan and EPA’s responsibility under Emergency Support Function 10 of the National Response Plan.

The ASPECT aircraft was deployed to Gulfport, Mississippi to provide airborne remotely sensed air monitoring and situational awareness data and products in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. Flying over 75 missions that included more than 250 hours of flight operation, ASPECT’s initial mission responsibility was to provide air-quality monitoring (i.e., identification of vapor species) during various oil burning operations. The ASPECT airborne wide-area infrared remote sensing spectral data was used to evaluate the hazard potential of vapors being produced from open-water oil burns near the Deepwater Horizon rig site. Later, it was used to aid in the identification of surface oil that could reach beaches and wetland areas.

In this video, Paul Lewis describes the instrumentation on ASPECT and how the various imagers and sensors are used to respond to disasters in near real time.

Lewis is program manager and scientist for the ASPECT Research and Development Program at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. He was interviewed at SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing 2011.

CNN interviews Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) on the EPA ASPECT Aircraft

Wednesday, July 13, 2010, CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Correspondent Ines Ferre interviewed Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) who fought to keep the EPA’s ASPECT Aircraft flying. ASPECT (Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology) is the Nation’s only 24/7 airborne emergency response chemical and radiological mapping program. Dr. Robert Kroutil, the team’s lead scientist, figured out how to reprogram ASPECT’s software to ensure that it detect the difference between oil, oil sheen, algae blooms, and turbulent water. From the air, algae and oil look similar. ASPECT’s new capability to detect oil makes the aircraft invaluable to the efforts surrounding the environmental disaster that BP created on April 20, 2010.

Prior to Rep. Taylor’s leadership in organizing the response efforts for Mississippi, the response was characterized as playing Marco Polo in the Gulf like a bunch of headless chickens.

Leveraging his 13 years in the U.S. Coast Guard where he lead search and rescue efforts and his leadership in the Katrina aftermath, Rep. Taylor’s expertise has ensured that the ASPECT team remain in the Gulf and be tasked with flying the Mississippi Gulf. Equally as important, Rep. Taylor is the reason that the coordination between what was in the air, the ground, and the water has turned into a smoother, cooperative, and effective effort to prevent oil from entering the Mississippi Sound.