Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



Terra Bird Tracks Global Pollution

These composite images depict carbon monoxide (CO) measurements at an altitude of 850 hPa (hecto pascals, a unit for atmospheric pressure). The measurements were made by the Mopitt instrument on the Terra satellite. The plots show the CO observations (high values are in red) averaged over 4 years (March 2000-February 2004) of operation, for each season. High levels of pollution are found in both hemispheres, essentially above urban areas due to industry, motor vehicle traffic and domestic heating, and over areas where biomass fires occur. These fires are a result of wildfires, agricultural and deforestation burning. Pollution plumes are transported trans-boundary, affecting air quality in regions far from industrial and vegetation burning activity. Credit: Cathy Clerbaux, NCAR
Huntsville (SPX) May 20, 2004
Data from NASA's Terra satellite is adding to our understanding of how pollution spreads around the globe. The information will help scientists protect and understand the Earth.

NASA funded scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colo., will present two studies focusing on global air pollution. Their presentations are part of the 2004 Joint Assembly of the American and Canadian Geophysical Unions.

David Edwards will discuss "Observations of Carbon Monoxide and Aerosol from the Terra Satellite: Northern Hemisphere Variability," on Thursday at 8:45 a.m. EDT in room 520D of the Palais des Congrès, Montreal. Cathy Clerbaux will discuss, "Tracking of Pollution Plumes Using Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) Measurements," at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

Both studies used instruments on NASA's Terra satellite to examine trends in global carbon monoxide (CO) and fine particulate (aerosol) pollution. Industry and vehicles in urban regions and fires produce these pollutants.

Terra and other NASA Earth observing satellites provide vital tools for monitoring global levels, sources and destinations of CO and other pollutants. The growing data record shows seasonal and annual variations, clues about how our planet may be changing. CO molecules can last from a few weeks to several months in the atmosphere, allowing them to travel long distances and impact air quality far from the point of emission.

Edwards, an NCAR researcher, used two sensors on NASA's Terra to track CO and aerosols from smoke originating in Russia. The plumes were tracked as they spread across the Pacific Ocean, filling the Northern Hemisphere.

In late summer 2002 and spring 2003, Terra observed big fires in western Russia and Siberia. The fires led to a 'dirty' 2002/03 winter atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere with high amounts of CO and aerosol. Peak levels of CO hung over the United States.

By using two complementary instruments on Terra, Edwards was able to tell the difference between pollutants originating from wildfires and those from urban and industrial sources. The MOPITT instrument provided CO data, while the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument recorded aerosol data.

"The satellite observations showed Russian fires have a huge impact on air quality on a global scale," Edwards said. "This work helps get the message across, that when it comes to pollution, we need to think globally," he added.

Work has started to see if the MOPITT instrument can track CO pollution originating from cities. Clerbaux, a scientist visiting NCAR from the French National Center for Scientific Research, points out tracking pollution from cities is very important, since half the people on Earth will live in urban centers by 2007.

Though MOPITT was not designed specifically to detect pollution plumes from cities, the results look promising. By selecting the data and averaging it over long time periods, the observations were made more reliable, and help distinguish the city emissions from other distant sources.

MOPITT data shows how wildfires in Kalimantan on Borneo Island in Indonesia, contaminated the air in 2002 above Jakarta, Indonesia. "The instrument also shows how pollution gets dispersed from cities," Clerbaux said. "Mexico City and Jakarta are both surrounded by mountains. Due to topography, Terra revealed pollution could only escape upward or through openings in the landscape. For example, like the area to the north for Mexico City," she added.

NASA's Earth Science Enterprise is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth System Science to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

Related Links
Terra at NASA
SpaceDaily
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

NASA Plans To Put An Aura Around The Earth
Greenbelt (SPX) May 18, 2004
On June 19, NASA will launch Aura, a next generation Earth- observing satellite. Aura will supply the best information yet about the health of Earth's atmosphere.



Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only






Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.