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NASA & SAO's Upcoming Space Project - The TEMPO.

TEMPO will utilize hourly daytime scans to monitor ozone and other pollutants, generating data that can be used to improve air quality forecasts, atmospheric models and much more...

By Gopinath.RPublished 2 months ago 4 min read

In early April 2023, an Earth-observing device is set to launch and will have the capability to measure air pollution across nearly all of North America at the "neighborhood" level of resolution.

The instrument is expected to assist scientists in detecting and tracing sources of air pollution, enhancing air quality predictions, and honing in on environmental threats such as wildfires.

TEMPO, which stands for Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution, is a collaborative initiative between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and NASA.

It will be placed into a geostationary orbit of approximately 35,800 kilometers over the equator at 91°W longitude as a component of the Intelsat 40e communication satellite.

The ultraviolet and visible light spectrometer on the novel device will sweep across the continent from east to west once every hour during daylight hours, recording quantities of ozone, aerosols, and other pollutants.

The device's fine resolution will provide critical details about changes in air quality due to natural and human-caused factors during day-night and seasonal cycles.

Aaron Naeger, a research scientist and the deputy program applications lead for TEMPO, claims that "TEMPO will be revolutionary."

Aaron Naeger further elaborated that it will be the first satellite to provide observations of the atmosphere from early morning to early evening, and it will assess air quality in the layer of air where individuals live and breathe by monitoring the entire air column from the satellite to the ground.

According to Jun Wang, a TEMPO scientist and chemical and biochemical engineer, earlier pollution-monitoring satellites moved in polar orbits, scanning atmospheric "curtains" only once per day, near local noon. However, these measurements were coarse in space and time.

Jung Wang explained, "From only a few curtains, you don't know much about everything in between." In contrast, TEMPO will provide high-resolution data as frequently as every hour, with a spatial resolution as precise as 2.1 kilometers (east-west) by 4.5 kilometers (north-south) - neighborhood scale and an altitudinal resolution of 200 to 500 meters, moving at a faster tempo than previous devices.

Atmospheric scientists will utilize these high-resolution observations to refine their models of how compounds move throughout the day, providing improved air quality forecasts on both regional and local scales.

This advancement could have significant implications for patients, healthcare providers, and local officials, according to Susan Alexander, an "early adopter" of TEMPO science and a professor of nursing at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Alexander stated, "We already have air quality forecasts, but if we know that air quality will be reduced on an even more localized scale, perhaps we can do more to prepare.

We might cancel some outdoor activities or encourage people with respiratory problems to stay indoors. There are even implications for facilities - staffing, purchasing supplies. There are all kinds of possibilities.

Scheduled for launch in this April 2023, a novel Earth-watching instrument will be able to measure air pollution at a fine, "neighborhood" resolution throughout almost all of North America.

The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) is a NASA and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory project that will ride a geostationary orbit on the Intelsat 40e communications satellite approximately 35,800 kilometers above the equator at 91°W longitude.

The device's ultraviolet and visible light spectrometer will scan North America from east to west once every hour, between sunrise and sundown, to track levels of pollutants such as ozone and aerosols.

The measurements will allow scientists to spot and track the sources of air pollution and improve air quality forecasts, including the capacity to focus on wildfires and other environmental threats.

TEMPO will be revolutionary and It's deputy program will lead the applications. It will be the first satellite to monitor the atmosphere from early morning to early evening, scanning the entire air column from the satellite to the ground, providing information on the air quality in the region where people live and breathe.

Jun Wang, a chemical and biochemical engineer and a TEMPO scientist, explained that pollution-monitoring satellites moving in polar orbits only scan the "curtains" of the atmosphere once daily near local noon, with measurements being coarse in space and time.

By using advanced technology and instruments, TEMPO is designed to monitor air quality and atmospheric chemistry in North America at an unprecedented level of detail.

With a focus on urban areas, the satellite will observe pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and formaldehyde, in addition to measuring the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface.

During the 4-month commissioning period, TEMPO will be able to observe special events, such as wildfires and volcanic eruptions, that occur within its range.

However, its main objective will be to collect data on a daily basis, providing scientists and policymakers with critical information on air pollution and its effects on human health and the environment.

The collaboration of TEMPO, GEMS, and Sentinel-4 will provide an invaluable tool for understanding how pollutants move across the Northern Hemisphere, enabling us to take steps towards mitigating their impact on our planet. This joint effort is an essential step towards achieving a cleaner and more sustainable future.

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