Mapping atmospheric pollution using remote sensing

Mapping atmospheric pollution using remote sensing,10.1117/2.1200710.0853,Spie Newsroom,Lim Hwee San,Khiruddin Abdullah,Nasirun Mohd. Saleh

Mapping atmospheric pollution using remote sensing  
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Air pollution affects human health and reduces the quality of our land and water. We cannot escape from it, even in our own homes. In Malaysia, in particular, environmental pollution is a persistent problem. In recent years, air quality has been de- graded almost annually during haze episodes generated by for- est fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia. The worst of these events caused Malaysia to declare an emergency in 1997 for Kuching, Sarawak, and in 2005 for Port Klang, a district in Kuala Selangor. The declarations were made after Air Pollution Index (API) values reached dangerous levels. Smoke haze belongs to a class of pollutants called aerosols, liquid or solid particles suspended in the air from natural or man-made sources. Aerosol particles also affect climate. Since the early 1900s, the Earth's surface temperature has increased by 0.6 C, reaching its highest level of the last thousand years. This rapid temperature change is attributed to a shift of less than 1% in the energy balance between the absorption of incoming solar radiation and the emission of thermal radiation from the Earth. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide and ozone, affect this energy balance, but aerosols also play a role. They do so directly, by interacting with solar and terrestrial radiation, and indirectly, by their effect on cloud microphysics, albedo (reflectivity), and precipitation.1 The effects of aerosols on climate differ from those of greenhouse gases. Since most are highly reflective, they raise the planet's albedo, thereby cooling the surface and effectively offsetting greenhouse gas warming by anywhere from 25 to 50%. The traditional sampling method for environmental monitor- ing of aerosols is time consuming and expensive. Furthermore, field measurements cannot provide the fine spatial resolu- tion needed to show detailed distribution patterns over a large area, or allow for continuous monitoring. Remote-sensing Figure 1. Map of PM10 (particular matter up to 10µm in diameter) over the land surface around Penang Island, Malaysia. (a) 30 July 2000, (b) 15 February 2001, (c) 17 January 2002, (d) 6 March 2002, (e) 5 February 2003, (f) 19 March 2004, and (g) 2 February 2005. Blue < 40µg/m3, green = 40-80µg/m3, yellow = 80-120µg/m3, orange = 120-160µg/m3, red = >160µg/m3, and black = water and cloud area.
Journal: Spie Newsroom , 2007
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