Photo of Rick Saylor

Physical Scientist and
ATDD Website Manager


Atmospheric Modeling and
Surface-Layer Meteorology

Office: (865) 220-1730

Current Research

I’m focused on improving computer models of the emission, transport, chemical transformation, surface exchange and removal of atmospheric air pollutants. These computer models simulate the distribution and fate of air pollutants and are used for regulatory demonstrations of pollution reduction implementation plans, air quality forecasting, atmospheric chemistry scientific investigations and advanced weather and climate predictive modeling.

For more information on my research click here.
A listing of publications is available in pdf format here.


University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, 1989

M.S., Chemical Engineering, 1985

B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1981

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Certificate of Unix Systems Programming,
College of Computing, 1999

Professional Experience

Research Associate Professor, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Knoxville, TN
November 2012 to present

Physical Scientist, NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division, Oak Ridge, TN
July 2009 to present

Senior Scientist, Atmospheric Research and Analysis, Inc., Snellville, GA
April 2004 to April 2009

Software Engineer, Radiant Systems, Inc./Quantum Corp./Connex Inc., Atlanta, GA
September 2000 to March 2004

Senior Research Scientist, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Atlanta, GA
July 1995 to August 2000

Senior Research Scientist, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Environmental Sciences Division,
Richland, WA
July 1992 to June 1995

Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, Department of Chemical Engineering, Lexington, KY
October 1989 to June 1992

Assistant Scientist, University of Kentucky, Center for Applied Energy Research, Lexington, KY
August 1989 to June 1992

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Simulation of surface PM2.5 concentrations over
the Southeast U. S. during June 2013
(click on image to enlarge)

Graphic showing sources of PM2.5

Sources of PM2.5 include cars and trucks, wildfires, agriculture, power plants and industry, windblown dust and particles formed through chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

More about my research

In particular, my research focuses on improving simulations of atmospheric fine particles (PM2.5) and the representation of surface-atmosphere exchange processes.

Air pollution has significant health, ecological and economic consequences. In fact, air pollution is the fourth-leading risk factor for deaths worldwide, with more than 2.5 million deaths occurring per year as a result of outdoor exposure to poor air quality. Closer to home, more than 40% of people in the U. S. live in areas that do not meet the health-based air quality standards established by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Accurate air quality computer models increase our ability to forecast air pollution episodes and provide susceptible individuals the opportunity to alter daily routines to limit their exposure. Models that can accurately simulate atmospheric fine particle distributions and their radiative- and cloud microphysical-interactions will also be a critical component in next-generation, advanced weather and climate models.

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