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article imageThree new space-based instruments to advance air quality science

By Karen Graham     Mar 6, 2020 in Technology
NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 10 a.m. EDT Monday, March 9, to discuss an international collaboration aimed at improving our understanding of air quality. The teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.
Air quality science and monitoring has become key to our understanding of how climate change can impact air quality and, conversely, air quality can impact climate change. Back in April 2017, the Atmospheric CompositionVirtual Constellation (AC-VC) was initiated by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS).
It was truly an international initiative that brought together existing and future international space assets - along with technical and scientific cooperation and collaboration among space agencies. The three mission GEOstationary Air Quality (GEO-AQ) constellation consists of the GEMS, Sentinel-4, and TEMPO missions.
South Korea's Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer
The first phase of the GEO-AQ Constellation took place on February 18, 2020, when the Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) instrument on the Korean Aerospace Research Institute GEO-KOMPSAT-2B satellite launched into orbit aboard an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.
Built by KARI, the GEO-KOMPSAT-2 program involves the development of two geostationary orbit satellites, the meteorological GEO-KOMPSAT-2A (GK2A) and the ocean monitoring GEO-KOMPSAT-2B (GK2B) sharing the same satellite bus.
South Korea s GEMS
South Korea's GEMS
The Geostationary Earth Orbit Korea Multi-Purpose Satellite can observe the generation, migration, and extinction of environmental pollutants such as fine dust and yellow dust and the marine conditions around the Korean Peninsula. It revolves in the same direction as the earth's rotation, so it can aim at the Korean Peninsula at all times to monitor the marine and environmental conditions continuously. Cheollian 2B is the world’s first satellite equipped with an environmental payload to observe the air pollutants.
NASA's Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO)
TEMPO was developed by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado, and is an instrument that will measure air pollution over North America on an hourly basis during daylight hours, making it possible to revolutionize air quality forecasts and emission control strategies and enable effective early public warning of pollution events.
“With the completion of the instrument and full spaceflight qualification by Ball, we are extremely excited about the acceptance of TEMPO, which will lay the framework for NASA and SAO’s critical air quality measurements,” said TEMPO Project Manager Stephen Hall at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
TEMPO will make observations from a geostationary vantage point, about 22,000 miles above Earth’s equator. TEMPO is a UV-visible spectrometer, sensitive to visible and ultraviolet wavelengths of light. It detects pollutants and other elements of atmospheric chemistry by measuring sunlight reflected and scattered from the Earth’s surface and atmosphere back to the instrument’s detectors.
ESA’s (European Space Agency's) Sentinel-4 spacecraft
The main objective of the ESA's Sentinel-4 mission is to monitor key air quality trace gases and aerosols over Europe at high spatial resolution on an hourly basis, in support of the Copernicus program. The focus will be on air quality, with the main data products being Ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), formaldehyde (HCHO) and aerosol optical depth.
The instruments for this Sentinel-4 mission will be carried on a Meteosat Third Generation platform. The Sentinel-4 mission is made up of the Ultraviolet Visible Near-infrared (UVN) spectrometer and data from thermal Infrared Sounder (IRS), both on the MTG-Sounder (MTG-S) satellite.
The Sentinel-4 mission focuses on monitoring of trace gas concentrations and aerosols in the atmosph...
The Sentinel-4 mission focuses on monitoring of trace gas concentrations and aerosols in the atmosphere to support operational services covering air-quality near-real time applications, air-quality protocol monitoring and climate protocol monitoring.
The teleconference to be held Monday will include scientists from the United States, South Korea, and the Netherlands who will be discussing a pioneering new constellation of space-based instruments designed to advance global air quality science and monitoring.
Panelists will include:
*Barry Lefer, tropospheric composition program manager in NASA's Earth Science Division at agency’s headquarters, Washington
*Jhoon Kim, GEMS principal investigator at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea
*Kelly Chance, TEMPO principal investigator at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts
*Ben Veihelmann, Sentinel-4 principal investigator for ESA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
More about NASA, TEMPO, Gems, Sentinel4, Air quality
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