A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Transport - Air Pollution: What's the Solution?


Student Worksheet

 --> How are pollutants such as ozone, NOx, VOCs and particulate matter transported or moved away from their sources?


  1. Review the wind information below.  Remember that the wind barb points in the direction where the wind is blowing to, as opposed to where the wind is blowing from.
    5 knots
    10 knots
    15 knots
    20 knots

    Example of Wind Barb

    50 knots
    65 knots

    NOTE: The Example Wind Barb above represents a wind that is blowing from the Southeast at 15 knots. Wind speed is often reported in the units of "knots". A "Knot" is a nautical mile per hour.

    • 1 Knot = 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH)
    • 1 Knot = 1.9 Kilometers Per Hour (KM/HR)
    • Each short barb represents 5 knots, each long barb 10 knots. A long barb and a short barb is 15 knots, simply by adding the value of each barb together (10 knots + 5 knots = 15 knots. 
  2. On your Student Worksheet, analyze the wind barbs and determine which way the wind is blowing and how hard the wind is blowing.
    • Wind not only moves air, but also particles and objects that may be in the air. You may have experienced this before if you have dropped a piece of paper outside on a windy day and chased after it as the wind picks up the paper and carries it along.
    • What about the particles you cannot see? Winds can transport particles like NOx, VOCs, ground level ozone and particulates great distances from where they were produced.
  3. Pollutants such as ground level ozone and particulate matter are usually swept along by winds that blow around 3,000 ft above the surface (sea level).  Access the 3,000 ft wind data (use drop-down menu above map to select windspeed) and answer the questions on the Student Worksheet.
Learn More Teachers

EPA | NESCAUM | CIESE | Stevens Institute of Technology