Air pollution is a concern for many Cache Valley residents, and a Utah State University engineering student is working to find solutions to this critical problem.
Kori Moore recently won first place in the Undergraduate Division of the Air and Waste Management Association’s 2004 Student Poster/Paper Competition at the association’s national conference held June 21-25 in Indiana.
“Learning about the air pollution situation here in Cache Valley has really fed my interest,” said Moore. “I want to learn more about it and understand what is happening and what can be done from a prevention standpoint.”
Moore’s research found that there is a strong correlation between a strong, winter-time temperature inversion and high pollution episodes, such as those experienced in Cache Valley in January and February 2004. He also found that the bottom of the temperature inversion occurs about 500 feet above the valley floor. This means that the pollutants released can only mix with the air contained below that level, which produces high concentrations of pollutants, Moore said.
Moore’s research may have an impact on Cache Valley air quality.
“This is giving the scientific, political, and public communities a better understanding of the temperature inversions that occur above Cache Valley and their influence on pollution concentrations,” Moore said.
Moore, a senior in the environmental engineering program, works closely with engineering professor Randal Martin.
“Working with Dr. Martin at Utah State has been like a real-life capstone course,” Moore said. “This opportunity to participate in research has helped me to practice what I learn in class.”
Moore said he has also worked to identify the main pollutants in Cache Valley and ways in which the quantity of pollution released can be decreased.