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Space sensors shed new light on air quality
Date:10/22/2007

Air pollution is becoming one of the biggest dangers for the future of the planet, causing premature deaths of humans and damaging flora and fauna. With their vantage point from space, satellites are the only way to carry out effective global measurements of air-polluting emissions and their transboundary movement.

Scientists and researchers from around the world gathered at ESRIN, ESAs Earth Observation Centre in Frascati, Italy, last week to discuss the contribution of satellite data in monitoring nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere and to present the latest results of their ongoing atmospheric research that includes identifying hotspots, analysing trends and monitoring the effectiveness of mitigation efforts.

All of the satellite data used by the participants was acquired through the TEMIS project, part of ESAs Data User Programme (DUP). The TEMIS Internet-based service offers near-real time data products, long-term data sets and forecasts from various satellite instruments related to tropospheric trace gas concentrations, aerosol and Ultra Violet radiation.

Emissions of gaseous pollutants have increased in India over the past two decades. According to Dr Sachin Ghude of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and traffic growth are most likely responsible for the increase. Because of varying consumption patterns and growth rates, the distribution of emissions vary widely across India. In order to mitigate the causes of pollution, policy makers need to know the hardest hit regions.

Using nitrogen dioxide (NO2) data acquired from 1996 to 2006 by the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) instrument aboard ESAs ERS-2 satellite and the Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument aboard ESAs Envisat, Ghude was able to identify the major NO2 hotspots, quantify the trend over major industrial zones and identify the largest contri
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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