To test the value and benefit of using dynamic sensor web measurement techniques and adaptive observing strategies, NASA technologists have formulated experiments using instruments on two NASA Earth observing satellites, Aqua and Aura that fly in formation high above Earth. As an example above, Aura’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) and Aqua’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) work in tandem to make observations of the same targeted area. Credit: NASA
The image shows Aura and Aqua satellites working as a space-based "search-and-rescue" team to observe forest fires using sensor web experiment measurements. Credit: NASA
For asthmatics and for anyone with respiratory problems, air pollution can significantly impair simple everyday activities. NASA is trying to tie together satellites and stations on the ground to develop a "sensor web" to track this pollution and improve air quality forecasts.
Understanding how tropospheric or near-surface-level ozone is produced, distributed and transported from city to city, region to region and continent to continent is an important step toward improving the complex mathematical computer models used to forecast air pollution as we do for weather. Such models can be used to provide alerts days in advance so that people sensitive to pollutants can modify planned outdoor activities to minimize their exposure.
The troposphere is where we all live, work, play and breathe! It’s the region of the atmosphere where our weather occurs and it extends from the Earth’s surface to roughly the cruising altitude of a passenger jet - about 40,000 feet. In some cases air pollutants have natural causes such as lightning induced wildfires that can emit large plumes of particulates into the troposphere. Fossil fuel burning in industrial areas and vehicular traffic in metropolitan areas are also major pollutant sources. Complex chemical interactions and atmospheric processes can transport these pollutants across thousands of miles.
Gretchen Cook-Anderson | EurekAlert!
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