Air Quality in the National Parks: Outcome of a Citizen Science Course Project Outcomes




Chen, Anna
Sullivan, Colleen
Betts, Nicole
Hammons, Emilie
Illingworth, Parker
Sears, Libby
Johnson, Kristina
Larson, Rowdy

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Citizen science uses the collective strength of communities and the public to identify research questions, collect and analyze data, interpret results, and make discoveries to understand and solve environmental problems. This volume presents a citizen science project conducted as part of a Geology of National Parks course taught in the Dept. of Geological Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. The goal is to use publicly-available, easily understandable, scientific environmental data to document and call attention to significant environmental issues facing a U.S. national park. Students questioned assertions in Daly (2019) Significant Air Pollution Plagues Almost All U.S. National Parks, Smithsonian Magazine that researchers found 85% of U.S. national parks have air that is unhealthy to breathe. The article also reported 89% of parks suffer from haze, and 96% have ozone and other pollutants that cause health concerns for visitors. These assertions can be tested by publicly available, real-time air quality data. This volume presents air quality measurements from Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Guadalupe Mountains, and Grand Canyon national parks throughout September 2020. The data is used to evaluate the article's assertions

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