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October 1, 2009

Tracking Global Sources of Local Pollution

The National Academies of Sciences featured satellite pollution-tracking research by UMBC Physics Professor Wallace McMillan in a report released Sept. 29 urging better tracking of global air-borne pollutants.

Using the most advanced methods of atmospheric monitoring and modeling, the report, “Global Sources of Local Pollution,” documents how air pollution can be transported across oceans and continents.

As a member of the science team for NASA's Aqua satellite-based Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS), McMillan helped create a video showing plumes of carbon monoxide moving through the atmosphere to illustrate the transport of pollution around the globe.

Obtained using the AIRS, the video shows observations tracking carbon monoxide at 5.5 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. Emissions of carbon monoxide from large fires and from large urban and industrial areas, such as northeastern China, can be seen as they move with weather fronts.
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McMillan’s research focuses on global, regional and local measurements of pollution. Ed Olsen at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory animated the video.

Posted by kavan at October 1, 2009 11:40 AM