Gregory Carmichael developed the Sulfur Transport and Deposition Model developed in 1976.
Friday, June 21, 2024
Gregory Carmichael

In the 1970s, a University of Iowa engineering professor developed an influential model for understanding and predicting air quality and how it interacts with climate. 

Despite being one of, if not the oldest atmospheric chemistry models of its kind, the Sulfur Transport and Deposition Model has kept up with advancements in knowledge, techniques, and capabilities to remain a trusted resource for scientists and policymakers alike. 

In May, EOS, a leading environmental and space sciences news magazine, published an examination of the history, evolution, and potential for the future of the model developed in 1976 by Gregory Carmichael, Iowa’s Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

The piece was co-authored by Min Huang, a former student of Carmichael, Carmichael, and Kevin Bowman, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Huang earned a PhD at Iowa in 2012 and now works as a senior research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. 

“Safeguarding public health and combating climate change depend on robust impact assessments and effective policymaking with respect to air quality, which in turn require an accurate understanding of air composition and the processes that control how and why it changes,” the authors wrote.

“For decades, scientists have applied multiscale modeling approaches informed by observations to help advance the understanding and predictability of air quality and its interactions with the climate. Such investigations are becoming more in-depth, more capable of revealing details of the processes at play, and more accessible to broader communities.”

The STEM model, originally designed to study acid rain, has been used in research and graduate training for five decades. The model helped pave-the-way for air quality forecasting and chemical data assimilation and has been used in over 35 PhD studies at Iowa. 

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