Satellites used to track pollution hotspots

Scientists have been combining satellite images from NASA and the European Space Agency to identify pollution hotspots and track pollutants as they move across the globe.


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Researchers from the US’s National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the NASA Goddard Space Fight Center and the University of Bremen in Germany, have been able to track three pollutants: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and aerosols, which have been observed moving from China eastward over Japan and the northern Pacific Ocean.

The researchers have used a variety of devices on board NASA satellites and the European Space Agency Sensing Satellite. “As the capability of these imaging systems becomes more and more powerful, international community will have a way of studying pollution on a global basis and the technical means to monitor emissions from each country,” said Steven Massie, an atmospheric chemist at NCAR.

Other findings have included especially high concentrations of the pollutants over the eastern US, western and southern Europe, and eastern China.

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