Mapping Air Pollution

The European Space Agency, aka ESA, launched the Sentinel-5P satellite that is mapping air pollution like never before. The first image was taken november 22nd 2017 and it showed nitrogen dioxide over Europe. Caused largely by traffic and the combustion of fossil fuel in industrial processes, the high concentrations of this air pollutant can be seen over parts of the Netherlands, the Ruhr area in western Germany, the Po Valley in Italy and over parts of Spain. This new mission promises to image air pollutants in more detail than ever before. And, while these first results demonstrate the sophistication of the satellite’s instrument, they certainly bring the issue of air pollution sharply into focus.

Concentrazioni di diossido di azoto in Europa

 Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said, “Sentinel-5P is the sixth satellite for the EC Copernicus environmental monitoring programme but the first dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. These first images offer a tantalising glimpse of what’s in store and are not only an important milestone for the Sentinel-5P mission, but also an important milestone for Europe. Data such as we see here will soon underpin the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, and will be used to issue forecasts, and will ultimately be valuable for helping to put appropriate mitigation policies in place.”

Sentinel-5P carries the most advanced sensor of its type to date: Tropomi. This state-of-the-art instrument can map pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and aerosols, all of which affect the air we breathe and our climate.

This, for example is the map of carbon monoxide