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Energy Systems Division

Observing Emissions of Air Pollutants from Space

Using satellite measurements to observe and monitor air pollutants from power plants
image showing concentrated air pollutants based on satellite data
Modeling and visualization tools allow researchers to infer ground-based emissions based on satellite data.

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.

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