NASA’s TEMPO mission, also known as the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution, has recently released its first data maps following the successful launch of its space-based instrument earlier this year. TEMPO is a groundbreaking project that aims to continuously monitor air quality over North America with an impressive resolution of just a few square miles.
This vital data is expected to be instrumental in helping decision makers across the country achieve their clean air objectives and support the climate agenda set out by the Biden Administration. By providing accurate measurements of pollution caused by various sources such as traffic, forest fires, volcanoes, and fertilizer application, TEMPO will greatly enhance our understanding of the environmental impact of these activities. Additionally, this information will also aid in evaluating the potential health effects of these pollutants.
To ensure widespread access and utilization of the data, partnerships have been formed with agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By sharing this valuable information with these organizations, potential strategies and policies can be implemented to effectively tackle air pollution and work towards a cleaner and healthier environment.
TEMPO’s capability lies in its ability to scan the lower atmosphere over the entire North American region, spanning from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific coast and from Mexico City to central Canada. By measuring pollution concentrations, this innovative instrument provides insights into the levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide gas in cities and major transportation arteries.
The construction of the TEMPO instrument was made possible through the collaboration between Ball Aerospace and Maxar, who integrated it with the Intelsat 40e satellite. This remarkable technology measures a range of pollutants including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, aerosols, water vapor, and trace gases.
Expected to commence full operations in October, TEMPO will become the first instrument to systematically observe pollution over North America in this manner. It is part of NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument program, which aims to undertake targeted scientific investigations to supplement larger research missions. The mission is a joint effort between NASA and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, a testament to the importance of collaboration in advancing our understanding of the Earth’s environment.
The release of the first data maps from TEMPO represents a significant milestone in the fight against air pollution. With its ability to provide detailed and continuous measurements of air quality, TEMPO is set to play a crucial role in guiding policies and initiatives aimed at achieving cleaner air and a more sustainable future.
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