NASA is flying planes low over the US to make maps of air pollution sources

by | Jun 27, 2024 | Science

We’ve reached a point when scientists can easily gauge levels of greenhouse gases or other air pollutants just by measuring their concentrations in the atmosphere. However, with these measurements alone, it is not necessarily obvious where the pollution actually comes from.How could we tell which specific neighborhoods in a city, for example, spawn the most carbon dioxide? That’s important information because only then can scientists start figuring out how to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, especially as Earth continues to warm due to human-driven climate change.This summer, NASA plans to offer a solution: Flying greenhouse-gas-detecting planes.For the past week and a half, NASA researchers and student interns have flown a pair of aircraft across the central-east U.S., guiding them low over airports, industrial sites and city centers to make a detailed air pollution map. By this weekend, the researchers will move the same aircraft to California and start taking the same measurements there.Related: Human-caused global warming at all-time high, new report concludes”The goal is that this data we collect will feed into policy decisions that affect air quality and climate in the region,” Glenn Wolfe, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and principal investigator for the campaign, said in a statement.Wolfe and fellow researchers used a pair of turboprop aircraft, one B200 and one P-3 Orion. On board are instruments that take a …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnWe’ve reached a point when scientists can easily gauge levels of greenhouse gases or other air pollutants just by measuring their concentrations in the atmosphere. However, with these measurements alone, it is not necessarily obvious where the pollution actually comes from.How could we tell which specific neighborhoods in a city, for example, spawn the most carbon dioxide? That’s important information because only then can scientists start figuring out how to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, especially as Earth continues to warm due to human-driven climate change.This summer, NASA plans to offer a solution: Flying greenhouse-gas-detecting planes.For the past week and a half, NASA researchers and student interns have flown a pair of aircraft across the central-east U.S., guiding them low over airports, industrial sites and city centers to make a detailed air pollution map. By this weekend, the researchers will move the same aircraft to California and start taking the same measurements there.Related: Human-caused global warming at all-time high, new report concludes”The goal is that this data we collect will feed into policy decisions that affect air quality and climate in the region,” Glenn Wolfe, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and principal investigator for the campaign, said in a statement.Wolfe and fellow researchers used a pair of turboprop aircraft, one B200 and one P-3 Orion. On board are instruments that take a …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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