Argonne National Laboratory

Observing Emissions of Air Pollutants from Space

Observing Emissions of Air Pollutants from Space

At the present time, work in this area is directed at the use of satellite data to infer ground-based emissions from power plants and other polluting sources. We are able to investigate trends in emissions from space that correlate with the introduction of emission control policies. In addition, the section is developing new methodologies for dynamic technology forecasting that use socioeconomic and related data to drive the choice of technologies, the timing of technology retirement, and the rate at which tighter standards are implemented. This has been used to study the future turnover of vehicle fleets around the world and the likely effects on air pollution and climate.

This project has used satellite data to monitor CO, CO2, Methane, NOx, SO2, and other pollutants from space and correlate pollutant levels with power plant emission. The measurements and correlations are primarily from the USA and Asia.


Streets, David G, et al. 2014. “Using Satellite Observations to Measure Power Plant Emissions and Their Trends.” EM The Magazine for Environmental Managers, Feb: 16–21.

Streets, David G., et al. 2013. “Emissions Estimation from Satellite Retrievals: A Review of Current Capability.” Atmospheric Environment 77 (October): 1011–1042.

Lu, Zifeng, David G. Streets, Benjamin de Foy, and Nickolay A. Krotkov. 2013. “Ozone Monitoring Instrument Observations of Interannual Increases in SO2 Emissions from Indian Coal-Fired Power Plants during 2005–2012.” Environmental Science & Technology 47 (24): 13993–0.

Lu, Zifeng, and David G. Streets. 2012. “Increase in NOx Emissions from Indian Thermal Power Plants during 1996–2010: Unit-Based Inventories and Multisatellite Observations.” Environmental Science & Technology 46 (14): 7463–7470.

Wang, Siwen, David G. Streets, Qiang Zhang, Kebin He, Dan Chen, Sicong Kang, Zifeng Lu, and Yuxuan Wang. 2010. “Satellite Detection and Model Verification of NOx Emissions from Power Plants in Northern China.” Environmental Research Letters 5(4): 044007.