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Introduction to the SouthEastern Aerosol Research and Characterization (SEARCH) Network

SEARCH is a comprehensive, multi-pollutant network designed to address regulatory and scientific questions related to ozone and its precursors, PM mass and composition, mercury speciation and deposition, wet deposition of acidity and nutrients and atmospheric visibility. The origins of SEARCH date back to the early 1990s, when 3 rural ozone and ozone precursor sites were deployed as part of the Southern Oxidants Study SCION network to understand regional transport of ozone and its precursors. The highly instrumented 8 site network was developed as part of a public-private collaboration with EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute), Southern Company, and other utilities. Three sites, Centreville, AL, Oak Grove, MS, and Yorkville, GA, were originally established to obtain comprehensive, long-term measurements of an extensive suite of trace gases (O3, NO, NO2, NOy, SO2, and CO) and meteorology in rural-regional locations.

The size and scope of SEARCH expanded significantly in the late 1990s to address questions pertaining to PM2.5 mass, composition and health effects. Unlike other criteria pollutants such as ozone, fine particles are comprised of mixtures of many compounds. Therefore, in order to identify sources of PM2.5 and to attribute health effects to specific components both the composition and mass of PM2.5 should be measured. High time resolution measurements are necessary to understand the dynamic nature of PM and PM precursor sources, transformations, and sinks.

The scope of SEARCH was increased again in the early 2000s to address atmospheric mercury. The network currently extends through Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, and currently has produced more than 10 years of data. Along the way, the SEARCH network as a whole has evolved to provide new and better measurements; and individual sites have served as platforms for long-term investigations of health effects and for short-term research campaigns to address key science questions (e.g., particle nucleation and photochemical mechanisms). To date, SEARCH data have been the basis of well over 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications. SEARCH data also have been used to constrain and evaluate local, regional, continental and global-scale atmospheric models, and have proven an invaluable resource to decisonmakers about the consequences of new, revised or looming ambient air quality standards.

SEARCH Fact Sheet (pdf)

Methods, Procedures, and Instrument Descriptions

SEARCH Publication List   (pdf)

SEARCH Public Data Archive

Map of SEARCH Sites (pdf)

Coordinates of SEARCH Sites




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