The virtual Rudolf Husar, e-mail , Pics



I am with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Washington University where I spend most of my time and attention, at the Center for Air Pollution Impact and Trend Analysis, (CAPITA). My resume , list of publications, and reports are available here, some are on-line . I can be reached through the CAPITA office. or you can drop me a note. here through e-mail.

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Teaching

I have a light teaching load, mostly in my areas of research interest. Recent teaching included a new course, ME 567, Environmental Informatics and Systems Analysis. The Fall 1994 class project was the skeleton of an Environmental Informatics Virtual Textbook on WWW. Other, more conventional teaching is in undergraduate Fluid Mechanics for Mechanical and Civil Engineering majors.

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Research

As one enters the mature years, there is a tendency to distribute one's attention among many different topics. However, it seems that I have perfected the art of 'spreading thin'. Currently, my interest is distributed between the environmental, library, information, cognitive and computer sciences.

Is there a thread tying these diverse fields? Maybe. I am intrigued by the question as to how could one increase the generation rate of 'actionable' environmental knowledge - i.e. knowledge useful for environmental management. Next, the meaning of life...

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Environmental Informatics

Much of my current activity is related Environmental Informatics, EI. The goal of EI is to improve environmental management by better use of information. In particular EI is to aid the delivery of 'actionable' knowledge used in environmental decision making. EI applies information science, engineering and technology to the detection, assessment and solution of environmental problems.

On-going hypertext and networking projects include the NOAA National Environmental Watch NEW in collaboration with NCDC which is also available as a PC Windows Hypertext document. The Global Aerosol Information Network (GAIN) is being developed in conjunction with international aerosol researchers. I am also involved in the development of the CAPITA data server.

Over the years, we have been developing a number of MS Windows-based interactive software tools for data processing and browsing. Some are available for downloading.

My beliefs: I believe that Internet is the closest thing to Jules Verne's 'World Brain' where the knowledge humankind is being fused.. However, I also feel that unless we pay a lot more attention to information filtering, organization and delivery, the resulting infoglut will cause more harm then benefit. It will further chop up and devour our scarce time and attention, which will lead to overall system inefficiencies as well as increased personal stress.

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Air Pollutant Concentrations

Raw air quality and meteorological data constitute the sensory input to our perception and understanding of the environment. Much of my work involves processing the raw signals into temporal trends and spatial patterns that can be used for environmental management. In informatics terms, I attempting to generate 'actionable' environmental knowledge. My focus was on long-term air pollution trends spanning this century in the United States and continental-global scales. The detailed analysis includes state-by-state fuel use trends, sulfur and nitrogen emissions as well as historical visibility, sulfur and nitrogen concentrations and depositions.

The CAPITA visibility trend analysis work has contributed to the deliberations for the Clean Air Act of 1990 and recently to the setting of the new Particulate Matter Air Quality Standard.

My beliefs:. Routine and ad hoc monitoring networks produce huge quantities of potentially useful data that could help for better informed management. However, I feel that there is a serious lack of systematic pattern and trend analysis on regional and global scale. Hence, our perception of what the environment is doing and hence our ability to make informed environmental decisions is severely hampered.

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Air Pollutant Emission Pattern and Trends

Emission trends, 1850-1991 for sulfur and nitrogen compounds were derived from fuel and metals production data. The historical reconstruction is based on the materials flow and balance approach. The emission is estimated from the production/consumption of fuels and minerals, the sulfur content of those and the associated retention factors. Recently, Janja D. Husar, Al. Lefohn, Peter Brimblecombe and myself, have been assembling a global sulfur emission database.

My beliefs: Emission inventories need to become shared resources, since it has no purpose for its own sake. Emission data are particularly suitable for the Web as the sharing mechanism. We hope to place the entire data base behind an SQL server that could deliver national or global emissions data to any Web client and entice others to share their inventories. Also, I think that emission inventories have to be 'opened up' by exposing their internal data and computational components for scrutiny and collective/collaborative modification.

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Monte Carlo - Direct Simulation Modeling

Since 1992, my Ph.D. student Bret Schichtel has been re-designing and re-calibrating and re-implementing the CAPITA Monte Carlo model on IBM-PCs. The model was designed in a modular framework, separating the emissions, transport and kinetics calculations. Pollutant quanta are dispersed using a Monte Carlo technique for the simulation of atmospheric boundary layer physics. Transformation and removal processes are simulated using space and time-dependent rate constants - determined via tuning and calibration using actual measurements. His thesis is about using ambient concentration, meteorological data and model coefficients to 'invert' i.e. estimate the emission pattern.

My beliefs: I just love the Monte Carlo simulation modeling technique. It is physical, visual and pedagogical. It must have also some sentimental value to me: I used the method in my Ph.D. thesis 25 years ago. I hope to have the CAPITA Monte Carlo Model (at least the airmass history/trajectory) server running soon. Imagine, you specify the LatLon coordinates of your site, and the arrival or departure time of the airmass and viola - and airmass trajectory picture pops on to your screen! All by the magic of the Web.

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Satellite Detection of Aerosols

Earth-observing satellites provide a synoptic-global view of many atmospheric parameters, including aerosols. However, the quantification of satellite data and reconciliation with 'ground truth' is proving to be a formidable task.

My beliefs: Satellites will be increasingly important providers of environmental monitoring data. But how will we access, process, integrate and fuse the satellite data with other observations? How will be 'assimilate' and 'metabolize' the terabits of raw sensory inputs into high grade, usable knowledge?

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What else do I do?

Tennis: My doubles game needs much more smarts and my overheads rate between pretty bad and lousy. Still, I love the competitive USTA Sunday games. Hope that the four screws and the remaing disks keeping my backbone together will hold for some time..

Wind surfing:. I do this in July on the island of Solta. The local thermally driven sea breeze, the Maestral arrives there at 2:30 PM, like clockwork. Riding the waves between the islands of Solta and Brac is the closest thing to pure recreation.

The Pilgrimage: My family has been religiously traveling to our parent's home in Palic, Yugoslavia and to our summer home in Stomorska on the island of Solta, Croatia. Luckily, my wife Janja, son Attila and daughter Maja are just as crazy about the yearly trip as I am. Many of our friends are through the Solta connection.

Web surfing: During the year, surfing the Net is almost as much fun as real wind surfing. Traveling to unseen places and observing the development of the Web as the 'world brain' is breathtaking, scary, exhilarating.

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Favorite Web Sites

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Keywords for the Webcrawlers:

aerosols, PM10, ozone, air pollution, source-receptor relationship, visibility, satellite aerosol detection,

systems analysis, environmental informatics,

CAPITA, Voyager, Movie, winsurfing, tennnis,

Solta, Split, Palic, Subotica

rhusar@mecf.wustl.edu