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NCEP Implements New Air Quality Forecast Model
The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) implemented an Air Quality Forecast System (AQFS) on September 14, 2004 at 12 UTC. The new NCEP model will initially forecast ozone concentrations for the Northeast US, and runs twice daily (at 06 and 12 UTC) to provide forecasts of ozone out to 48 hours. The AQFS makes use of the 12 km Eta model to provide meteorological predictions that the Environmental Protection Agency CMAQ (Community Multi-scale Air Quality) model uses to produce ozone forecasts. The AQFS also performs 6 hour cycling and the use of GFS Ozone predictions for improved initial conditions. The CMAQ system includes chemical mechanisms to simulate various air quality constituents including tropospheric ozone, fine particles, toxics, acidic deposition, and visibility degradation. The implementation of AQFS is the first step in a decade-long NOAA-EPA program to create a National Air Quality Forecast System to provide the US with forecasts of ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants, with enough accuracy and advance notice so action might be taken to prevent or reduce adverse effects. The AQFS is managed through the NWS Office of Science and Technology.