Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Satellite data reveal immense pollution pool over Bihar, India


Scientists studying satellite data have discovered an immense wintertime pool of pollution over the northern Indian state of Bihar. Blanketing around 100 million people, primarily in the Ganges Valley, the pollution levels are about five times larger than those typically found over Los Angeles.

The discovery was made by researchers analyzing four years of data collected by the Multi-angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer (MISR) onboard the Terra satellite. Lofted into orbit on Dec. 18, 1999, Terra is the flagship of NASA’s Earth Observing System Program.

"This study is the most comprehensive and detailed examination of industrial, smoke and other air pollution particles over the Indian subcontinent to date, and reveals how topography, meteorology and human activity help determine where these particles are concentrated," said Larry Di Girolamo, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a co-investigator on the MISR mission.

"MISR is the first instrument to make high-resolution, multi-angle radiometric measurements of Earth from space," Di Girolamo said. "By measuring reflected sunlight at nine angles, we can accurately determine the amount of particulate matter, including that generated from man-made pollution, in the atmosphere."

While high pollution levels were found over much of India, a concentrated pool of particles was discovered over Bihar, a largely rural area with a high population density. A large source contributing to the Bihar pollution pool is the inefficient burning of a variety of biofuels during cooking and other domestic use. Particles in the smoke remain close to the ground, trapped by valley walls, and unable to mix upward because of a high-pressure system that dominates the region during winter. "The result is a pollution episode that can affect both human health and local climate," Di Girolamo said. "The airborne particles can damage delicate lung tissue, and by altering the radiative heating profile of the atmosphere, the particles may change temperature and precipitation patterns."

Prior to the MISR study, atmospheric models had predicted a tongue of pollution extending across the middle of India. The MISR observations, however, show the pollution lies much farther north. "These models are very important to us, as they are used to forecast pollution episodes and climate change," Di Girolamo said. "The fact that model results don’t match the MISR observations suggests there are problems in the models or the model inputs that need to be fixed." The role of airborne particles remains one of the largest uncertainties in atmospheric modeling. In addition to modifying local climate, the particles can interact with clouds and change the cloud properties. This is particularly important, since clouds have the greatest radiative forcing on the climate system.

"The Bihar pollution pool must be having a tremendous impact on the local climate and the health of the approximately 100 million people that reside within this pool." Di Girolamo said. "Our long-term goal is to better predict the occurrence of these pollution episodes and their impact on public health and local climate."

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>