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Research Project Description

Modeling and Analysis of Particulate Matter Using the WRF-CMAQ System
Research Participation Program
Office of Research and Development
National Exposure Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Research Triangle Park, NC


Project Description:

A postgraduate project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL). This appointment is in the Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division (AMAD) located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. 

AMAD researchers lead the development and evaluation of predictive atmospheric models on many spatial and temporal scales. These models are used to assess changes in air quality and air pollutant exposures, as affected by changes in ecosystem management and regulatory decisions. They are also used to help forecast the nation's air quality.

Atmospheric modelers provide a sound scientific and technical basis for policies to improve ambient air quality. EPA’s models are used by researchers in industry, other federal agencies, and the air pollution community to understand and simulate/predict air pollution and to develop emission control policies for air quality improvements. EPA applies air quality models to support key integrated, multidisciplinary science research, including linking air quality models to other models in the source to outcome continuum to effectively address issues involving human health and ecosystem exposure science.

This research opportunity is aimed at understanding the role of stable boundary layer processes driving the air-surface exchange and lofting of particulate matter using modeling techniques and verification with field measurements. The research participant will be involved in the multi-scale characterization of pollutant transport during winter periods using integrated measurement and modeling approaches. Research training opportunities may include but are not limited to:

  • Analyzing the performance of a TKE-based boundary layer scheme in the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model during stable conditions in the atmospheric boundary layer;
  • Coupling TKE-based eddy diffusivities with the vertical diffusion routine in the Community Multi-Scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model;
  • Comparing near-real time WRF-CMAQ modeling system simulations using the TKE-based boundary layer scheme and with the existing simulations;
  • Using monitoring network, field experiment and/or satellite observations to evaluate the performance of the WRF-CMAQ modeling system for winter periods.

The research participant will learn techniques to perform near-real time simulations of the coupled WRF-CMAQ modeling system; to evaluate the performance of the modeling system with two different boundary layer schemes; and to disseminate research findings through publication in a reputed science journal.

The research participant will have the opportunity to collaborate with a dynamic and multidisciplinary team of researchers that propose, develop and conduct research related to the fate of atmospheric pollutants.


Applicants must have received a master’s degree in atmospheric science, environmental science, or a closely related field within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date. Postgraduate students pursuing a doctoral degree in atmospheric or environmental science are also eligible to apply. Students must provide proof of enrollment each semester. Familiarity with coupled meteorology and chemistry transport models is a plus.

The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is preferred (but can also hold an appropriate visa status, however, an H1B visa is not appropriate).

The appointment is full-time for summer 2014. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. This can be obtained through ORISE. The participant does not become an EPA employee.

Funding may be made available to reimburse a participant’s travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or a participant's health insurance.

Technical Questions:

Dr. Kiran Alapaty is the contact person for this project. He can be contacted at

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project # EPA-ORD/NERL-AMAD-2014-01 when calling or writing for information.