Brian Dunbar Headquarters, Washington, D.C. (Phone: 202/453-1547) Jean Drummond Clough Craig E.

Murden Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. (Phone: 804/864-6122) Keith Koehler Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. (Phone: 804/824-1579)

July 23, 1990

Gordon Black Atmospheric Environment Service, Ontario, Canada (Phone: 416/739-4760) RELEASE: 90-102 U.S. AND CANADIAN SCIENTISTS COOPERATE IN ATMOSPHERIC STUDY

Scientists from NASA and U.S. universities have joined Canadian researchers in an expedition to study pollution at high northern latitudes and emissions of methane, an important greenhouse gas, from tundra, forests and marshes. Titled the Atmospheric Boundary Layer Experiment-3B (ABLE), the study will let scientists look at changes in chemical composition that occur when pristine Arctic air masses, which influence air quality and climate over North America, Eurasia and the northern oceans, mix with polluted continental air masses. Observations of Arctic atmospheric chemistry will be linked

to studies by the Canadian Institute for Research in Atmospheric Chemistry (CIRAC) of the soil of lowland marshes near Hudson Bay. The soils under observation are a source of methane, which plays a critical role in atmospheric chemistry and possible global warming. Like carbon dioxide and the other "greenhouse" gases, methane traps heat near the surface of the Earth that otherwise would radiate into space, warming the atmosphere. Over several decades, higher temperatures could prompt other phenomena, such as the melting of light-reflecting sea-ice, that could lead to even more warming. - more -2The CIRAC Northern Wetlands Project will study the sensitivity of methane emissions to changes in surface temperatures to predict how these emissions may change in a warmer climate. The main NASA sampling platform is the agency's Lockheed Electra aircraft, stationed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. The Electra, a converted turboprop airliner, is scheduled to make 14 flights in the Hudson Bay lowland area and in Quebec. A Canadian DeHaviland Twin Otter aircraft will fly 50 research missions during the same period. Ground sampling activity will involve towers and surface chambers at a McGill University facility in Schefferville, Quebec. Research activity began July 5 and will conclude Aug. 20, 1990. The air and ground measurements will be complemented by surface-vegetation data from the Landsat and French SPOT satellites. The ABLE project is managed by Langley's Atmospheric Sciences Division for NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications. The program was established in the early 1980s to study the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere and its interaction with the land and the oceans. Other principal investigators are from NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif., and Stennis Spa