The Ghana project under the AQ Fellowship includes air quality modeling, data management, and communication. Dr. Daniel M. Westervelt has been matched with the EPA Ghana project team led by Mr. Emmanuel K-E. Appoh, Head of Laboratory Services. Previously, EPA Ghana has developed an Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA). EPA Ghana would like to extend the AQMP to additional regions of the country and implement further air quality monitoring in all 16 regions of Ghana. EPA Ghana views the ability to forecast air quality and provide early warning to pollution episodes across large parts of the country for which forecasts are not currently available as an environmental and public health policy achievement.
The Fellowship kickoff meeting was held in September 2019. Dr. Westervelt will have regular technical discussions and training events with the EPA Ghana project team. He traveled to Ghana in February and March 2020 for in-country collaboration meetings. The Fellowship period will continue from September 2019 and into 2021.
High Level Goal 1: Air Quality modeling, forecasting, data management, and communication
High Level Goal 2: Air Quality data management and quality assurance
Other Ghanaian groups that participate in the air quality project, in addition to the lead agency EPA Ghana, include the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast, Ghana Meteorological Agency, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Ghana Health Services, and Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
The main discussions for the Fellow and EPA Ghana project team are focused on air quality modeling and forecasting. Major topics include: interactions between air quality and weather (required for forecasting), existing forecasting tools, types of forecasting techniques and methods, overview of air quality modeling from Gaussian plumes to 3D deterministic models, and more. An in-depth multi-day session using the GEOS-CF air quality forecasting tool was held. The EPA Ghana team produced their own forecasts for Ghana and its major cities, including Accra, using NASA’s GEOS-CF. In addition, GEOS-CF lead developer, Dr. Emma Knowland of NASA, conducted a remote discussion on the tool. EPA Ghana plans to produce an official EPA Ghana forecast with this tool.
2020 / 2021 Technical Training Sessions
Synergy outreach and communications events with U.S. Embassy in Accra. In conjunction with the EPA Ghana and U.S. Embassy in Accra, Dr. Westervelt conducted public outreach and communication events while in Ghana. Dr. Westervelt gave two public talks, both hosted by the US Embassy: one at the American Corner in Accra for local journalists, and another at the Embassy itself for local high school students.
At the American Corner, attended by approximately 15 television, radio, and newspaper journalists, Dr. Westervelt presented on the air quality data gaps in sub-Saharan Africa and in particular in Ghana. He highlighted efforts by EPA Ghana staff and local Ghanaian scientists aiming to close the data gap and improve air quality. Mr. Appoh joined Dr. Westervelt in discussing Ghana’s air quality efforts during the press conference. Westervelt was interviewed after and appeared on local TV, radio, and newspaper in the days following.
During the second week of his visit, Dr. Westervelt delivered another talk to a local group of 50 high school students from Accra where he highlighted the importance of air quality issues.
Dr. Westervelt shared air quality data from a U.S. EPA-funded study on the air quality in Jamestown, from the Open Burning Neighborhood Pilot project. Links to stories on these public outreach events:
Ghana News Agency (GNA) story for U.S. Government in the News, Jamestown under research for air pollution, EPA, US Embassy and one other, conduct research on air pollution. (https://ghananewsagency.org/science/jamestown-under-research-for-air-pollution-164362)
Ghanaian Times story for Accra air pollution high …above acceptable world standard – US expert. (https://www.ghanaiantimes.com.gh/accra-air-pollution-high-above-acceptable-world-standard-us-expert/)
Dr. Westervelt is an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University. In addition to being an Air Quality Fellow with the U.S. Department of State under this program, he is also a Columbia University Climate and Life Fellow with experience working with 6 countries in Africa. His experience relates to air quality, climate modeling, and the aerosol and climate interaction. He has a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Mr. Emmanuel K-E. Appoh, Head of Laboratory Services, is the EPA Ghana project Team Lead.
In February and March 2020, Dr. Westervelt traveled to Ghana for in-country collaboration meetings, hands-on training events, and outreach events with the EPA Ghana project team.
In February 2020, in conjunction with EPA Ghana and U.S. Embassy in Accra, Dr. Westervelt presented on air quality data gaps in sub-Saharan Africa and highlighted efforts by EPA Ghana staff and local Ghanaian scientists to close the data gap and improve air quality for Ghana’s citizens.