NASA pollution monitoring satellite shares first images of air quality

TEMPO, NASA’s newest space pollution monitoring satellite, has just shared the first images of the state of air quality across North America.

TEMPO (short for Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution – Pollution Monitoring) is a device that supports the collection and analysis of real-time air data from space built by NASA and operate. TEMPO was successfully launched in April this year and is currently located at an altitude of more than 35 km from the ground. This satellite is in the initial testing and calibration phase, before officially going into operation from October here.

The main task of TEMPO is to take hourly measurements, providing accurate information on pollution status from different sources such as traffic, forest fires and agricultural activities. The satellite is capable of measuring data of sunlight reflected from the earth’s surface and atmosphere, thereby determining the concentration of polluting gases such as nitrogen dioxide.

Technically, TEMPO can self-assess air pollution levels with extreme detail, up to a few square kilometers, and show changes in pollution occurring over a short time frame. This will allow the satellite to collect data on factors that affect air pollution such as rush hour traffic or smoke from wildfires with great accuracy.

The first images from TEMPO are shown in visual form, including two pollution maps of the area around Los Angeles from midday to 4 p.m. on the same day. The maps below show nitrogen dioxide levels in the air on August 2, where darker colors indicate higher levels. Other visualizations show pollution around major metropolitan areas such as New York, Washington, Houston and New Orleans. NASA said there are currently nearly 50 scientific studies being planned based on this new way of collecting data.

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After TEMPO officially goes into operation, NASA said it will share collected data with partners such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ). These data will help policymakers gain an overview and take necessary measures to monitor and improve community air quality, especially in large urban areas.