Monitoring Air Quality from Space

NASA scientists have arrived at Osan AB, South Korea, for an air quality study that will incorporate aircraft, ground sites, and ships as part of an international effort to monitor pollution from space. The Korea United States-Air Quality (KORUS-AQ) Experiment is part of a longer-term project “to take air quality observations from space to the next level” and to help inform decisions about protecting air quality, according to NASA. The team of scientists will use US and South Korean aircraft in flights coordinated from Osan Air Base to collect air quality data from May 2 to June 12, according an Air Force release. “We want to move beyond forecasting air pollution, we want to influence strategies to improve it,” NASA’s lead US scientist for the experiment, James Crawford, said in a press release. Satellite observations “can play an important role” in that change, he added. The experiment “will benefit the development” of a new constellation of satellites slated to launch from 2018 to 2022 to measure air quality in Asia, North American, Europe, and North Africa, NASA said in a press release.