Developing an Atmospheric Monitoring and Research Station

Atlanta, Georgia

Featured image for the project, Developing an Atmospheric Monitoring and Research Station


 The Challenge

A local nonprofit organization focused on community resilience in Atlanta, GA is looking for a scientific partner to help bring an atmospheric monitoring and research station within an urban forest to operational status. They would like help designing research projects using a recently acquired 140-ft tower that will provide relevant and actionable data and educational opportunities for the local community.


The unique location of the tower in an urban old-growth forest in the Southeast U.S. and the capability to install instrumentation at different heights above, in and below the tree canopy make the Advanced Atmospheric Monitoring and Research Station (AARMS) project applicable to a variety of research topics including atmospheric chemistry, weather and climate change, air quality, and environmental epidemiology, etc.


The Center for Sustainable Communities – Atlanta (CSC-ATL) has worked with stakeholders in Atlanta, GA for nearly five years to launch the AARMS project. The approach of the AARMS project is to design, integrate and install advanced instrumentation and equipment on a 140-ft tall tower located in the Fernbank Forest to collect long-term meteorological and atmospheric data. The AARMS project aims to support academic atmospheric and meteorological research by adopting rigorous standard operating procedures for instrument deployment, maintenance, and data collection. The project consists of five components: (1) a research station; (2) earth science laboratory; (3) STEM education; (4) urban outreach; and (5) community engagement.


The Approach

The project team will collaborate to develop a novel way to use the tower to advance science in a way that benefits and engages the local community. This will include the design and implementation of a locally impactful research project, as well as operational guidance as needed to support the full development of the AARMs project.

Project Team

Community Lead


Garry A. Harris is the Managing Director for the Center for Sustainable Communities, a non profit dedicated to making communities cleaner, greener, healthier, safer and more climate resilient through research, project and program development, technical assistance, policy and advocacy. He is also the President of Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG), a consulting firm that provides diverse sustainability, energy engineering and power generation technical services. Garry has more than three decades of experience in the energy, environmental and sustainability fields, including energy efficiency and has performed extensive project management, design, construction, quality assurance, field engineering, plant operations, training, research and regulatory activities at more than eighty power generation and facilities nationally and internationally. Garry has worked to form, sustain and actively participate in state wide energy and environmental advocacy, equity, sustainability coalitions including Georgia Energy and Industrial Construction Consortium, Emerald Cities Collaborative Atlanta (green jobs), Better Building Challenge Atlanta (green buildings), Just Energy Circle (energy equity), Energy Services Coalition, Georgia Environmental Justice Alliance, Advancing Equity and Opportunities and Clean Power Plan Working Group, and the Demand Side Management Working Group.

Garry holds a BS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Virginia, a MS in Technology Management and a MS in Quality Engineering and is seeking a Ph.D. in Energy and Environmental Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Scientific Partners

ngNga Lee (Sally) Ng is an Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech University. Her research interest is in aerosol chemistry, air quality, and health effects. Her research focuses on both laboratory experiments and field measurements to understand the formation and evolution of atmospheric nanoparticles (aerosols). This research includes conducting laboratory chamber experiments in which specific compounds of interest can be isolated and studied under simple, well-controlled oxidation environments, allowing for a more detailed and direct characterization of the composition, chemical, and physical properties of aerosols. Sally is also involved in field measurement campaigns and integrated analysis of multidimensional and multiple worldwide mass spectrometer datasets to investigate the chemistry and life cycles (sources, processes, and fates) of ambient aerosols.

Sally has a B.Eng. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from California Institute of Technology.

saikawa150x190Eri Saikawa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Emory University. She has worked on diverse projects that cover: atmospheric chemistry (modeling aerosols and tropospheric ozone); environmental health (assessing the adverse health impacts of air pollution); biogeochemistry (modeling global soil nitrous oxide emissions); climate science (estimating emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases), and environmental policy/politics (analyzing the impacts of environmental standards and trade as well as analyzing policymaking processes).

Her main research questions are related to the source and the magnitude of emissions linked to air pollution, ozone depletion and global warming, as well as the impacts of these emissions on humans and on the society. Eri is also interested in what policy measures are available to reduce these emissions, and how politics play a role in policymaking process. Current projects include: 1) estimating past, present, and future global soil nitrous oxide emissions; 2) estimating global CFC-12 emissions; 3) assessing what drives the seasonal and inter-annual variability of nitrous oxide emissions/mixing ratio; 4) quantifying the impacts of Chinese vehicle emissions on regional air quality and health; and 5) analyzing indoor air quality in Tibet.

Eri has a B.Eng. in Chemistry and Biotechnology from the University of Tokyo, a Master of Public Affairs in Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Management, and a Ph.D. in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy from Princeton University.