QSSC Web Site
Legacy Statement September 2010

The NARSTO organization, having met the goals of its 1999 charter, has disbanded as of December 31, 2010.

This Web site and the QSSC FTP site will remain available for the foreseeable future, but they will not be updated regularly. The Permanent Data Archive will be accessible and maintained by the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center.

NARSTO supported the Quality Systems Science Center (QSSC) and the Permanent Data Archive for storing data from NARSTO Affiliated Research Activities and for making these data products and the supporting data and quality management resources available to the scientific community.

NARSTO was a partnership among government, private industry, and research organizations in Canada, the United States and Mexico that was dedicated to improving the management of air quality in North America.

An Introduction to NARSTO

The NARSTO partnership is a non-binding, tri-national public/private alliance, open to science agencies, regulatory agencies, regulated industries, academic institutions, environmentalists, and public interests groups in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The NARSTO mission is to plan, coordinate, and facilitate comprehensive, long-term, policy-relevant scientific research and assessment of primary and secondary pollutant species emitted, formed, transformed, and transported in the troposphere over the North American continent. The current emphasis is directed toward the study of ozone, particulate matter, and their precursors. To accomplish this mission, NARSTO provides a cross-organization planning process that determines the most effective strategies for scientific investigation, and establishes and maintains effective communication channels with the policy, control technology, and health and ecological effects communities.

The central programmatic goal of NARSTO is to provide data and information for use in the determination of workable, efficient, and effective strategies for local and regional ozone and fine particle management. NARSTO is guided by the long-term (10-Year), science-focused, policy-relevant research plan described in the document entitled, NARSTO Research Strategy and Charter (November 1994), and the Strategic Execution Plan that establishes the near-term research agenda. These documents can be downloaded from the NARSTO Web Page.

The NARSTO research focus is in four broad technical program areas: (1) Atmospheric Chemistry and Modeling Research, (2) Emissions Research, (3) Observations Research, and (4) Integrated Analysis and Assessment. NARSTO limits its research activities to the measurement and analysis of atmospheric processes that occur between the source and the receptor. NARSTO coordinates information exchange and collaboration with other scientists and policy-makers (both national and international) through liaison arrangements.

The NARSTO partnership is engaged in several data and information gathering and dissemination activities including critical science reviews, state-of-science assessments, and data archival and retrieval systems development.

Quality Assurance and Data Management assistance and guidelines are available to all NARSTO research planners, project managers, and principal investigators through this NARSTO Quality Systems Science Center which is located at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The NARSTO Methods Compendium has been developed and made available on the Internet ( The NARSTO Permanent Data Archive is maintained by the NASA EOSDIS Distributed Active Archive Center at the Langley Research Center (

The Quality Systems Science Center (QSSC)

In January 1997, the U.S. Department of Energy's Environmental Sciences Division announced their sponsorship of the NARSTO Quality Systems Science Center (QSSC). The QSSC is located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) within the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). The QSSC reports to the NARSTO Executive Steering Committee through the NARSTO Management Coordinator and collaborates with the Science Teams.

QSSC staff expertise includes atmospheric chemistry, quality systems management, and data management coordination. Dr. Les A. Hook is the QSSC Director and is also responsible for Quality Assurance Coordination. Dr. Meng-Dawn Cheng serves as the QSSC Chief Scientist and Dr. Sigurd W. Christensen is responsible for Data Management Coordination. Please contact us if you need additional information.

Responsibilities of the QSSC

Quality systems management and data management coordination activities are implemented by the QSSC. The QSSC implements the NARSTO Quality System Management Plan (QSMP) under the direction of the Executive Steering Committee.

  • The QSSC supports Program/Project Managers and Principal Investigators in the areas of project data quality objectives (DQO) definition, quality assurance and data management planning, data management coordination, and in a quality assessment oversight role for the NARSTO Program.
  • The QSSC will ensure that relevant quality management systems are planned and implemented under the NARSTO program; plan and conduct quality assurance reviews of the critical NARSTO program elements; and plan and coordinate NARSTO data management, data archival, and data dissemination activities.
  • The QSSC quality assures, documents, and transmits NARSTO data products and metadata to the NARSTO Permanent Data Archive.
  • The QSSC also has developed a measurement methods compendium that is a convenient on-line reference source for atmospheric measurement techniques for ozone, ozone precursors, aerosol precursors, and particulate matter.