Daily OMI tropospheric NO2 (air pollution) measurements over The Netherlands and Western Europe

Tropospheric NO2 (air pollution) over The Netherlands and Western Europe (last 24 hours)
The Netherlands and Western Europe air pollution (last 24 hours)

Today's satellite air quality measurements are available around 15:00 hours GMT for Europe. OMI (on the EOS-Aura satellite) passes over Europe around 12:45 hours (GMT) and it takes another 2-2.5 hours before the data are available here. The most recent air quality measurements can be viewed in Google Earth. The TEMIS web site contains a limited archive of air quality and air pollution Google Earth files.

Daily OMI tropospheric NO2 (air pollution) measurements over other regions in the world
Also available on the TEMIS web site.

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Archive OMI news


Air quality monitoring and forecasting in China

Date: 28 12 2010

For the last decade the industrial activity of China has been growing at rapid pace, bringing economic wealth to its 1300 million inhabitants, but also generating an unprecedented level of air pollution. This deteriorates the air quality of the densely populated and industrialized areas such as Beijing, Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta, and increases the background pollution levels world-wide (1). The EU AMFIC project, led by KNMI, kicked off in September 2007 and aims at monitoring and forecasting the air quality in China by using satellite observations and model simulations, together with ground observations from collaborating Chinese institutes. The combination of these instruments and tools offers a unique possibility to investigate trends in air pollution and the effectiveness of air quality policy.

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Thirty year ozone record: the Multi Sensor Reanalysis (MSR)

Date: 03 12 2010

A single coherent total ozone dataset, called the Multi Sensor Reanalysis (MSR), has been created from all available ozone column data measured by polar orbiting satellites in the near-ultraviolet Huggins band in the last thirty years.

Fourteen total ozone retrieval datasets from the satellite instruments TOMS, SBUV, GOME, SCIAMACHY, OMI, and GOME-2 have been used in the MSR. As first step a bias correction scheme is applied to all satellite observations, based on independent ground-based total ozone data from the World Ozone and Ultraviolet Data Center.

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TROPOMI: Sensing the Troposphere from Space

Date: 29 11 2010

TROPOMI is a Dutch initiative building upon the successes of SCIAMACHY and OMI. This new instrument combines all innovative aspects of the previous instruments and improves on most specifications. Notably improved are horizontal resolution and the accuracy of the tropospheric columns, due to improved cloud and surface albedo characterization capabilities. By flying in an afternoon orbit (overpass time is 13:30 local time), the TROPOMI measurements can be combined with the GOME-2 measurements flying in the morning (9:30 am) to obtain information on the diurnal cycle of several of the trace gases. It will be for the first time that the diurnal cycle will be measured from space on a daily basis.

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Eruption at Mount Merapi (Indonesia)

Date: 11 11 2010

In late October and early November 2010, eruptions at Indonesia’s Mount Merapi produced ash plumes, lahars, and pyroclastic flows. The volcano also released sulfur dioxide, a colorless gas that can harm human health and cool Earth's climate.

On November 9, 2010, the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin, Australia, reported a sulfur dioxide cloud over the Indian Ocean between 12,000 and 15,000 meters, in the upper troposphere. As of early November, Merapi had emitted just 1 percent into the stratosphere of what was released by Mount Pinatubo in 1991, and therefore it is expected that the Merapi eruption will hardly have an effect on global temperatures.

See also the news about this eruption on the Aura science news site.

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Luchtkwaliteitverwachtingen voor Nederland

Date: 09 11 2010

Luchtverontreiniging kan schadelijk zijn voor de gezondheid van de mens. Langdurige blootstelling aan luchtverontreiniging kan leiden tot ernstige gezondheidsklachten en een verkorting van de levensverwachting, terwijl mensen met luchtwegaandoeningen al bij een enkele blootstelling aan sterke verontreiniging ernstige hinder kunnen ondervinden. Het is daarom van belang dat er een betrouwbare luchtkwaliteitverwachting bestaat. In dit stuk wordt nader ingegaan op de luchtkwaliteitverwachting die het RIVM, TNO en het KNMI sinds de zomer van 2009 dagelijks berekenen.

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Wandering Ozone Hole in November 2009

Date: 02 11 2010

Using measurements from ground stations and from satellites instruments such as OMI on EOS-Aura, researchers led by Jos de Laat of the KNMI found that the ozone hole was centered just off the southern tip of Chile and Argentina for three weeks in November 2009, rather than its usual center over Antarctica.

The event gave citizens of Tierra del Fuego and nearby regions nearly twice the normal dose of UV radiation for the area.

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Brochure Our changing atmosphere: Discoveries from EOS Aura

Date: 29 10 2010

View the latest brochure highlighting some of the discoveries from the Aura Mission during its first five years (2004-2009) in the research areas on:

  • Stratosphere Ozone
  • Air Quality
  • Aersols
  • Climate Change

Note that the PDF file is 55 Mb in size, so the download may take a while.

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Introducing the A-Train

Date: 26 10 2010

A convoy of "A-Train" satellites has emerged as one of the most powerful tools scientists have for understanding our planet’s changing climate. OMI, on board EOS-Aura is part of this "A-Train".

This multi-sensor view allows scientists to simultaneously observe changes in key environmental phenomenon from numerous perspectives. And it helps skirt around engineering obstacles that would have made it impossible to cluster all 15 instruments on one large spacecraft. But it wasn’t necessarily planned that way. Formation flying is a fairly novel concept, and it came to the fore partly by accident. The concept of an A-Train first emerged when scientists and engineers were hashing out the orbit of Aura, which launched in 2004...

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Minder ozonafbraak dan gebruikelijk

Date: 15 10 2010

De ozonafbraak in de ozonlaag boven de Zuidpool is dit jaar ongeveer 40 tot 60% minder dan in de voorafgaande 5 jaar. Dat laten metingen van OMI zien. Minder ozonafbraak past in de verwachting dat de ozonlaagzich de komende decennia geleidelijk herstelt, maar de huidige grote verandering is niet toe te schrijven aan de langzame afname van stratosferisch chloor van 0.5-1% per jaar. De verminderde ozonafbraak dit jaar blijkt te worden veroorzaakt door ongebruikelijke meteorologische omstandigheden.

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Smog over China

Date: 14 10 2010

In early October 2010, a high-pressure weather system settled in over eastern China, and air pollution began to accumulate locally for nearly a week. By October 9 and 10, China’s National Environmental Monitoring Center declared air quality “poor” to “hazardous” around Beijing and in 11 eastern provinces. Citizens were advised to take measures to protect themselves, and visibility was reduced to 100 meters in some areas. News outlets reported that at least 32 people died in traffic accidents caused by the poor visibility. Untold were the number of people suffering with asthma and other respiratory difficulties.

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite detected extremely high levels of aerosol particles and sulfur dioxide on October 8.

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A-train look at the October pollution episode over China

Date: 14 10 2010

In early October 2010, a high-pressure weather system settled in over eastern China, and air pollution began to accumulate locally for nearly a week. By 9 and 10 October, China's National Environmental Monitoring Center declared air quality "poor" to "hazardous" around Beijing and in 11 eastern provinces. Citizens were advised to take measures to protect themselves, and visibility was reduced to 100 meters in some areas. News outlets reported that at least 32 people died in traffic accidents caused by the poor visibility. Untold were the number of people suffering with asthma and other respiratory difficulties.

The event was likely caused by a blend of increased emissions - from agricultural burning, factories, and vehicle emissions - and the stagnant weather system. The relatively calm days did not bring enough wind to blow the pollution away from its sources. By October 11, a cold front brought cleansing rain and winds that cleared up the skies.

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Monitoring and Forecasting System for Atmospheric Composition: The GEMS Project

Date: 05 10 2010

Present-day numerical weather forecasting is based on combining atmospheric models with observations from operational weather satellites and routine in-situ and surface measurements. By the ‘assimilation’ of measurements in weather models a detailed description of the present meteorological situation is obtained, which serves as starting point for successful weather forecasts. For the chemical composition and aerosols in the atmosphere such a comprehensive assimilation and forecast system did not exist until recently.

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Antarctic Ozone Hole 2010

Date: 14 09 2010

The yearly depletion of stratospheric ozone over Antarctica – more commonly referred to as the “ozone hole” – started in early August 2010 and is now expanding toward its annual maximum. The hole in the ozone layer typically reaches its maximum area in late September or early October

So far in 2010, the size and depth of the ozone hole has been slightly below the average for 1979 to 2009, likely because of warmer temperatures in the stratosphere over the far southern hemisphere.

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Russian Firestorm: Finding a Fire Cloud from Space

Date: 31 08 2010

Thick, choking smoke hung over Russia on August 1, 2010, adding to the misery of a stifling summer heat wave. Thousands of people were fleeing nearly 700 fires burning in the drought-dried forests and peat bogs of western Russia.

It was perhaps not too surprising that OMI recorded high concentrations of aerosols over far northern Russia on that day, but, they were measured above the top of high clouds. A decade ago, a scientist trying to trace the source of those high aerosols would have looked for an erupting volcano. A volcanic eruption, it was thought, was the only force powerful enough to loft aerosols twelve kilometers or more into the atmosphere. But in 2010, meteorologist Michael Fromm saw another suspect far closer to northern Russia. His experience told him that at least one of the hundreds of fires burning in western Russia had probably generated a powerful, dangerous firestorm. Was OMI's observation this summer an indicator that a similar firestorm?

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Extreem veel UV-straling op de zuidpunt van Zuid-Amerika

Date: 13 08 2010

Drie weken met weinig ozon en veel UV straling over de zuidelijke punt van Zuid Amerika traden op tijdens het 2009 Antarctische ozongat seizoen. Een verschuiving van het ozongat stelde de zuidelijke punt van Zuid Amerika bloot aan extreem hoge doses ultraviolette straling. Deze gebeurtenis zag men al dagen van tevoren aankomen, o.a. in de UV verwachtingen van het KNMI. Reden dus waarom er vorig jaar door de lokale autoriteiten in samenspraak met het KNMI en de lokale onderzoeksinstituten een waarschuwing uitging voor deze extreem hoge UV-waardes.

Echter, tot aan deze gebeurtenis was het eigenlijk onduidelijk wat de kwaliteit van die KNMI-verwachtingen was voor zulke extreme situaties. De analyse van de KNMI-gegevens en de lokale waarnemingen lieten zien dat er een uitstekende overeenkomst was tussen de verwachtingen en waarnemingen. De resultaten van deze studie laten zien dat satellietwaarnemingen een cruciale bijdrage leveren aan het monitoren en voorspellen van de hoeveelheid ozon en UV straling. Dusdanig belangrijk dat de studie door de Amerikaanse Geofysische Unie (AGU) werd uitverkozen tot een “research spotlight”.

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Satellietinstrument OMI volgt bosbranden in centraal Rusland

Date: 11 08 2010

De rook van de bosbranden in centraal Rusland wordt in kaart gebracht door het Nederlands/Finse satellietinstrument OMI. Bij de bosbranden ontstaan rook, koolmonoxide, stikstofoxiden en andere giftige gassen. Met behulp van OMI kan de luchtvervuiling door stikstofdioxide (NO2) actueel worden gevolgd

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Increasing Bad Ozone Threatens Human and Plant Health

Date: 05 08 2010

"I think what we have to dispel is that ozone pollution is confined to places like Los Angeles and Houston," says NASA Senior Research Scientist Jack Fishman. "Despite emission controls that have resulted in notable reductions in many American cities, O3 concentrations in non-urban areas in both the U.S. and around the world are increasing, with negative impacts to all living things -- plants, animals, and people."

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Scientific highlights of SCIAMACHY and OMI

Date: 28 06 2010

The Netherlands is actively involved in atmospheric composition measurements from space since 1995 with measurements from the GOME, SCIAMACHY and OMI satellite instruments. The MetOp satellite series with GOME-2 onboard will continue these measurements until 2020, thereby providing an important global climate data record. KNMI plays an active and often leading role in the analysis of measurements from these instruments. Here we describe some scientific highlights based on SCIAMACHY and OMI data.

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NASA Observes Ash Plume of Icelandic Volcano

Date: 27 05 2010

On wednesday April 14, Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted for the second time within one month. The latest eruption spewed a cloud of ash into the atmosphere that disrupted air travel in Northern Europe and around the world for quite some time.

Various satellite instruments observed the eruption and the ash cloud and their images and measurements helped forecasters who were tracking the ash plume in order to provide detailed volcanic ash hazard warnings for aviation. Among those instruments are MODIS and MISR on EOS-Terra, the CALIPSO satellite, the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite, AVHRR/3 on MetOP-A and OMI on EOS-Aura.

This news item leads to last image of a serie of example images of observations made various satellite sensors which were used to make up the volcanic ash hazard warning reports. The link at the bottom of the last item leads to the other archived images, or use this direct link.
See also the images, including those of the first eruption on NASA's Earth Observatory web site. Read more ...

KNMI toont luchtkwaliteit op wereldtentoonstelling Shanghai

Date: 10 05 2010

Het KNMI is in het Nederlands paviljoen op de Wereldtentoonstelling in Shanghai vertegenwoordigd met een luchtkwaliteitsstation. Bezoekers kunnen op een groot scherm kennis nemen van de meest recente satellietwaarnemingen door OMI van stikstofdioxyde in de troposfeer, de onderste 10 kilometer van de atmosfeer. Luchtvervuiling is door de onstuimige economische groei in de dichtbevolkte en geïndustrialiseerde gebieden van China een urgent probleem.

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NASA Aids Forecasters Tracking Iceland Volcano Ash Plume

Date: 05 05 2010

Over the past few years, observations from several sensors on NASA’s fleet of research satellites focused on the complex workings of our planet and its climate have been adapted to create new tools to aid in volcanic ash hazard warnings for aviation. Last month during the height of the shutdown of European air traffic, NASA for the first time began providing similar customized reports to European advisory centers. One of the observations used in the advisory reports are those of Sulfur dioxide (SO2) by OMI.

SO2 is a reliable marker for fresh volcanic ash clouds under clear skies especially in the early days of a high-altitude eruption. It can at times indicate the presence of ash when the ash cannot be visually detected from space. "OMI data have been very useful for tracking volcanic clouds over the last few years, and we are now identifying eruption times and locations of the Icelandic ash clouds," said Nicolai Krotkov of the University of Maryland Baltimore County who works on the OMI aviation products.

See also this page with the latest image and the subsequent link to archived images for examples of observations made various satellite sensors which were used to make up the advisory reports.

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IJsland's vulkanisch zwavel en as: metingen vanuit de ruimte en vanaf de grond met KNMI-instrumenten

Date: 16 04 2010

Wetenschappers van het KNMI gebruiken satellietmetingen van door de aardatmosfeer weerkaatst zonlicht om concentraties van vervuilende stoffen te bepalen. Zwaveldioxide absorbeert zonlicht bij bepaalde golflengtes sterker dan bij andere, en met behulp van deze spectrale vingerafdruk kan betrouwbare informatie verkregen worden over de totale hoeveelheid SO2 in de atmosfeer. Lidarwaarnemingen in Cabauw geven gedetaileerde informatie over aerosolen, waaronder het vulkaanstof. De KNMI-metingen worden gebruikt door diverse Europese luchtvaart instanties ter registratie van uitzonderlijk hoge zwaveldioxide concentraties, en ter ondersteuning van besluitvorming over het afsluiten van het luchtruim.

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Klimaateffecten van vulkaanuitbarstingen

Date: 16 04 2010

Vulkaanuitbarstingen op IJsland hebben in het verleden de temperatuur op aarde nauwelijks beďnvloed. Tropische erupties zijn wel goed zichtbaar in de temperatuurreeksen. Grote uitbarstingen zoals de Pinatubo in 1991 en de Tambora van 1815 zorgden er voor dat de wereldgemiddelde temperatuur een paar jaar een kwart tot één graad lager lag. De afkoeling wordt veroorzaakt doordat vulkanisch stof hoog in de atmosfeer zonlicht tegenhoudt. Vulkaanuitbarstingen hebben alleen een langdurig koelend effect als het stof de stratosfeer bereikt (boven de 10/15 km). Het stof van vulkaanerupties in de tropen wordt door de luchtstromingen verder omhoog gebracht en over de hele wereld verspreid, terwijl dat van vulkanen buiten de tropen naar beneden waait en snel weer verdwijnt. We verwachten dus niet dat de huidige uitbarsting van de Eyjafjallajökull op IJsland de temperatuur merkbaar zal beďnvloeden.

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Eruption of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano (Iceland)

Date: 15 04 2010

One way to describe the ash and other particles from an eruption is with an aerosol index, which is based on the way particles in the air affect the passage of visible or ultraviolet light through the atmosphere. This map, based on OMI measurements on 15 April 2010, shows the aerosol index over the North Atlantic following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in mid-April 2010.

Eyjafjallajökull is located at the southeastern corner of Iceland, and the April 15 plume spread thickly from there all the way across the Atlantic. It forced most European countries to close their airspace. (Volcanic ash cannot be detected by airplanes’ radars, and it can cause jet engines to fail.)

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UV Exposure Has Increased Over the Last 30 Years, but Stabilized Since the Mid-1990s

Date: 16 03 2010

Ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth's surface increased for 30 years before leveling off in the mid-'90s, a new analysis of data from multiple sources shows, according to NASA-GSFC scientist Jay Herman.

In addition to analyzing ozone and ultraviolet trends, Herman also used satellite data to study whether changes in cloudiness have affected UV trends. To his surprise, he found that increased cloudiness in the southern hemisphere produced a dimming effect that increased the shielding from UV compared to previous years.

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An aerosol boomerang observed from space

Date: 14 01 2010

In December 2006 southeastern Australia suffered from severe forest fires. Using the OMI instrument we observed how a smoke plume released by these fires on 14 December rapidly crossed the Pacific and reached southern America only five days later. After passing south America the plume continued its journey over the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean to return to home base on 25 December, making it the first-time observation of rapid around-the-world transport in the extra-tropical southern hemisphere.

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