ATS department ESS department

Research - US Air Quality

Click here for Particulate Matter Air Quality Forecast

Particular matter (PM), or aerosol, is the general term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the atmosphere. Monitoring natural (dust and volcanic ash) and anthropogenic aerosols (biomass burning smoke, industrial pollution)is important because they influence cloud properties,alter the radiation budget of the earth-atmosphere system, affect atmospheric circulation patterns and cause changes in surface temperature and precipitation.
Aerosols also reduce visibility and induce respiratory diseases when sub-micron sized aerosols penetrate the lungs thereby affecting air quality and health. Increased exposure to particular matter with particle diameters less than 2.5m (PM2.5) can cause lung and respiratory diseases and even premature death.

Although several ground measurement networks are currently in operation to monitor aerosols for different purposes, their network is inadequate for monitoring air pollution on global scales. However, satellite imagery, due to their large spatial coverage and reliable repeated measurements, provide another important tool to monitor aerosols and their transport patterns.

Our research is focused upon monitoring air pollution from satellites, compare satellite derived methods with ground measurements and forecast air quality using mesoscale models.

For further information please check out the following papers.

Wang, J., and S. A. Christopher, Intercomparison between satellite-derived aerosol optical thickness and PM2.5 mass: Implications for air quality studies, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(21), 2095, doi:10.1029/2003GL018174, 2003 (pdf file).