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Sensor web simulation investigates technique to improve prediction of pollution across the globe

air traffic routes, or when smoke of a wildfire is carried aloft, then dispersed over large metropolitan areas. The sensor web has the potential to improve the response time of our observing systems by reconfiguring their sensors to react to variable or short-lived events and then transmit that information to decision makers so that appropriate alerts can be issued to those people living in the impacted areas.

To test the value and benefit of using dynamic sensor web measurement techniques and adaptive observing strategies, NASA technologists have formulated experiments involving two NASA Earth observing satellites that fly in formation high above Earth. These consist of Aqua and the recently launched Aura, along with sophisticated atmospheric chemistry models that can forecast the global distribution and concentration of one particular pollutant - carbon monoxide (CO).

"The sensor web behaves as a search-and-rescue team," said Principal Investigator Stephen Talabac, lead technologist with the Science Data Systems Branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Each sensor collects data as part of a team of cooperating sensors. It is able to respond to the needs of the team members. The sensors on one satellite react to data and information sent to it from other sensors on other satellites that have different but complementary capabilities. The sensors then change their observing strategy accordingly, to target and then collect data for a particular event." Talabac offered the analogy of a search-and-rescue team whereby the unique skills of firefighters, police officers, and paramedics are brought together to form and then implement a plan to find and rescue a person in need of help.

Computer forecast models can also help decide where the sensors should make observations. If a model forecasts high concentrations of CO, the sensor web's instruments can be commanded to make targeted observations of those locations. The actual sen
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Source:NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office


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