Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sensor Web Simulation Investigates Technique to Improve Prediction of Pollution Across the Globe

11.07.2005


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.



To improve our ability to track the transport of pollutants from their various sources to populated cities and towns around the globe, NASA technologists are exploring an innovative technology called the “sensor web.” This interconnected “web of sensors” coordinates observations by spacecraft, airborne instruments and ground-based data-collecting stations. Instead of operating independently, these sensors collect data as a collaborative group, sharing information about an event as it unfolds over time. The sensor web system is able to react by making new, targeted measurements as a volcanic ash plume is transported to 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 sensor measurements can then be fed back into the computer model to improve the accuracy of the forecast. Talabac’s team hopes to illustrate how such a model-driven sensor web could be used to enhance current measurement techniques, and bring to bear multiple complementary instruments to respond to rapidly changing environmental conditions.

“These simulations fall into the category of ‘proof of concept,’ to assess the feasibility of what is also planned for the next generation observing systems to enable real, full-fledged sensor web measurements,” explained Talabac. “We hope to demonstrate that such an approach, or ‘targeted intelligent data collection techniques,’ can bring about more efficient use of our Earth observation satellites and their sensors.”

In September 2005, Talabac’s team will use an atmospheric chemistry computer model to predict global CO distribution. The team will also make measurements using Aura’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES), at key locations to improve the model prediction. In the future the team hopes to be able to use their prototype software to recommend regions where the TES instrument could be commanded to look and make real measurements at key locations predicted by the model.

“Our goal here is improve our ability to monitor and assess the Earth’s environment,” Talabac added. “With the sensor web, policy and decision makers will have access to the most useful and timely information available to help maintain a high quality of life and to potentially save lives.”

Gretchen Cook-Anderson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/global_pollution.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Calculating recharge of groundwater more precisely
28.02.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A better way to measure the stiffness of cancer cells

01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Exploring the mysteries of supercooled water

01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth

01.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>