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Washington State University Natural Gas Methane Study

Study Team

Brian Lamb

Regents Professor, Washington State University

A WSU faculty member for more than 30 years, Lamb is an international leader in the area of regional air quality research and in atmospheric pollutant transport. This has involved a combination of atmospheric tracer field studies and the development, evaluation, and application of a variety of air quality models.

He is directing the development of a real-time urban air quality forecast system for the Pacific Northwest. The system, which operates on a daily basis in the Pacific Northwest, was developed to measure and predict the movement of emissions of ozone, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter that affect human health. It also includes wildfire pollutant emissions and can predict transport and dispersion of smoke and other pollutants from fires. The information has been heavily used by state and federal agencies for developing air quality control plans.

Lamb is also investigating the effects of global change on regional air quality, including the development of detailed emission inventories, incorporation of meteorological modeling, and evaluation of model performance using an array of available monitoring data. Lamb is also a leader on the Regional Approaches to Climate Change (REACCH) USDA project in which he supervises a network of sites measuring carbon, nitrogen and water vapor fluxes over agricultural fields in the Pacific Northwest.

He and his collaborators led the development of the Biogenic Emission Inventory System, which the Environmental Protection Agency adopted as a tool to address ozone problems. The system allows regulators to take into account how trees and natural organics impact pollution problems. Understanding vegetation’s role is also important in understanding the role and interaction of natural and human emissions in climate change.

He has published more than 165 peer-reviewed papers and several book chapters. His work on biogenic trace gas emissions is often cited, and he was recognized in 2008 with the prestigious Haagen-Smit Prize for the outstanding paper published in the field of air pollution. Lamb has mentored 20 doctorate and more than 30 master’s students. In 2005 he was named a WSU Regents Professor, the university’s top promotion that recognizes Lamb’s highest level of distinction in his field. He has received the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture’s outstanding researcher award three times.

He holds a Ph.D. from the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology and a BS in chemistry from Idaho State University.

Steve Edburg

Steve Edburg is an assistant research professor at Washington State University, where he conducts research in atmosphere-biosphere exchange, atmospheric transport and dispersion, and turbulence modeling.

Prior to joining WSU in 2012, he served as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Idaho. He was a recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) fellowship through the University of Michigan in the area of biosphere and atmospheric research. He also received a graduate scholarship from the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service graduate scholarship.

He holds an undergraduate and master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a PhD in engineering science from Washington State University.

Tom Ferrara

Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, Inc. (CRA)

Tom Ferrara is an associate and manager of the air quality measurements group at Conestoga-Rovers & Associates. His group is responsible for ambient and source emission measurements for facility compliance and research projects. For the past several years the group has been active in fugitive methane emission measurements at oil and gas production and processing facilities and natural gas distribution facilities. These measurements have included direct leak and emission measurements and the use of atmospheric tracers for quantifying emissions from leaks and area sources. Mr. Ferrara holds a master’s degree in environmental science from Washington State University and is located in CRA’s Niagara Falls, New York office.

Touché Howard

Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, Inc. (CRA)

Antonio Possolo

NIST Fellow & Chief Statistician, National Institute of Standards & Technology

Antonio Possolo is a NIST Fellow and Chief Statistician for NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce). His research interests include spatial statistics, point processes, environmental remote sensing, measurement uncertainty, and foundations of probability theory and of statistical inference. Before joining NIST, Possolo worked as a statistician for General Electric Company and as an Associate Technical Fellow for the Boeing Company. He also was an Assistant Professor of statistics at Princeton University and at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2010 and 2011, he received awards from the U.S. Department of Commerce, from the U.S. Department of Energy, and from the U.S. Geological Survey, for his contributions to the national response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Originally from Lisbon, Portugal, he holds a Licenciate in geology from the Classical University of Lisboa, Portugal, and a Ph.D. in statistics from Yale University.

Wesley Dyck

Senior Environmental Scientist, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates

Wesley Dyck leads the environmental statistics group at Conestoga Rovers & Associates (CRA). His professional expertise areas include environmental toxicology, risk assessment, and statistical analysis of environmental data. In his 17 years with CRA, Mr. Dyck has worked on a wide variety of projects on behalf of public and private clients providing environmental statistics and risk assessment services. The analyses have been performed for numerous purposes; including site investigations, remedial design, liability accounting, compliance monitoring, permitting, spatial modeling, human health and environmental risk assessment, cost benefit analysis, inter laboratory studies and environmental planning. One work and research area of particular interest has been the development of risk-based prioritization and ranking models for environmental data sets containing limited and imperfect information.

Mr. Dyck has presented papers and posters at scientific and professional conferences in the areas of environmental risk assessment, contaminated site remediation, statistical quality improvement and environmental chemical analysis methods. He co-authored a chapter on the topics of statistics and risk analysis in Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Engineering Handbook (ed. R.K. Rowe), Chapman & Hall, New York, 2001. Mr. Dyck holds Master of Science (biology) and Bachelor of Science (honors biology and chemistry) from the University of Waterloo.

Undergraduate Student Researchers

Alex Lambdin
Charlotte Beall