The John C. & Susan S.G. Wierman Lecture Series: Bryan Duncan (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) @ Olin 305

December 7, 2017 @ 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Title: The Growing Importance of Satellite Data for Health and Air Quality Applications



Satellite data are growing in importance for health and air quality end users in the U.S. and around the world.  From their “Gods-eye” view, satellites provide a level of spatial coverage unobtainable by surface monitoring networks.  Satellite observations of various pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, vividly demonstrate the steady improvement of air quality in the U.S. over the last several decades thanks to environmental regulations, such as the Clean Air Act. However, while better, U.S. air quality is still not at healthy levels and there are occasionally extreme events (e.g., wildfires, toxic spills in Houston after Hurricane Harvey) that expose Americans to high levels of pollution.  Satellite data also show that air quality in many parts of the world is rapidly degrading, and is likely to continue to do so as the global population is expected to increase by 2 billion by 2050. In this presentation, I will discuss the strengths and limitations of current satellite data for health and air quality applications as well as the potential upcoming satellites offer. I will present examples of successful uses of satellite data, discuss potential uses, and highlight ongoing challenges (e.g., data processing and visualization) for satellite data end users.


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Bryan Duncan is an Earth scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and has a keen interest in using NASA satellite data for societal benefit, including for health and air quality applications. He frequently speaks to representatives of various U.S. and international agencies (e.g., World Bank, UNICEF) about how satellite data may benefit their objectives and is a member of the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team (HAQAST). He is also the Project Scientist of the NASA Aura satellite mission, which has observing air quality from space as one of its objectives.

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