US space agency NASA has collaborated with Google to help local government monitor and predict the air quality. The duo will build advanced machine learning-based algorithms and link space data with Google Earth Engine data streams to generate high-resolution air quality maps in near real-time.
Signed under the Space Act Agreement, Google and Nasa have committed to a 2 years Annex agreement under which they will leverage their expertise to help local governments make informed decisions about daily air quality monitoring and forecasts. The results will create city-scale, near real-time estimation and forecasting of harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter present in the atmosphere.
Data will be collected from Google’s Street View mapping vehicles, surface monitoring stations and other Earth monitoring satellites.
Rebecca Moore, director at Google Earth, Earth Engine and Outreach at Google said, ” We’re excited about our partnership with NASA to make daily air quality more actionable at a local level.”
Two data sets will help in providing information to the Earth Engine Catalogue which will automatically be updated every day.
Information from NASA Goddard Earth Observing System Composition Forecasts (GEOS-CF) and Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2) will provide observations from satellites of all the pollutants present. With the help of this information, regions with poor air quality will be detected.
To further refine the data, NASA scientists will team up with the Google Accelerated Science team to combine data sources available on Google Earth Engine, helping detect the location of major pollution sources.
This experiment will first be limited only to the San Francisco region. It will, later on, expanded to cities in Lower Mekong Region, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam via SERVIR.
SERVIR is a joint collaboration of NASA and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) that works together with regional organizations.
According to WHO data, almost 99 per cent of the global population breathes air which contains high levels of pollutants whereas low- and middle-income countries have the highest exposure. Due to this, over 7 million people worldwide die every year. The World Bank has evaluated that the global cost of health damages from air pollution is $8.1 trillion.