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Early Adopter

Sebastian Diez
Sebastian Diez
Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD), Chile

Applied Research Topic

Improving Air Pollution Exposure Insights in Latin America Through PACE Data Integration

Potential Applications Air quality in Latin America; public health policy; tools to support decision-making

Description

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a type of air pollution that poses a significant health risk in urban areas. Current methods to estimate PM2.5 concentrations and health impacts were developed in regions with robust data infrastructure, so they are less effective in areas with limited capabilities for on the ground monitoring and accessible data. These gaps in understanding create potentially ineffective air-quality related policies.

This project will develop tools to map PM2.5 and enhance exposure estimation in underserved Latin American urban areas. These tools will integrate PACE data with surface measurements from reference instruments and low-cost sensors, improving current understanding of PM2.5 distribution in the study area. PACE data will also be complemented by data from other satellites, such as MODIS, VIIRS, and TROPOMI, as well as chemical transport models to reduce uncertainties in regional estimates. The combination of these data sources, along with measurements from AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) stations on the ground, will enhance the spatial resolution and accuracy in modelling of PM2.5. More accurate data will aid in developing the region’s public health policies and environmental management strategies.

Significance

Common issues in Latin America – poverty, uneven wealth distribution, and disparities in educational levels – often result in environmental injustice, with poorer populations more heavily exposed to air pollution. Scarce surface monitoring in the area only exacerbates these issues, with less frequent measurements leading to outdated or disconnected environmental legislation. By providing more accurate and detailed PM2.5 exposure data, the project will address these inequalities and contribute to the development of more effective and relevant environmental policies and public health strategies. This approach also seeks to bridge gaps in scientific understanding and policy implementation, contributing to a bigger-picture goal of equitable and sustainable development in Latin America.

Why PACE

PACE data's advanced spectral and polarimetric capabilities will offer detailed insights into aerosol properties that are key to refining PM2.5 estimation accuracy such as aerosol size, composition, and distribution. The integration of PACE data with other data products will provide a comprehensive view of air quality that surpasses what current satellite data alone can achieve. This holistic approach will lead to more accurate and extensive PM2.5 exposure assessments, filling critical gaps in current air quality monitoring efforts.

End User(s)

  • Public health organizations in Latin America.
  • Municipal, regional, and national environmental monitoring agencies
  • Academic institutions involved in environmental and health research
    • Specific points of contact likely to be department heads or program coordinators within these organizations

SAT Partner(s)

Alexei Lypustin, Lorraine Remer
Screen capture from initial meeting to review the project objectives, brainstorm potential funding sources, and celebrate our collaboration with PACE.
Screen capture from initial meeting to review the project objectives, brainstorm potential funding sources, and celebrate our collaboration with PACE. Attendees shown include (clockwise from top left): Ivan Ortega, Atmospheric Chemistry Observations & Modeling, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA; Principal Investigator Sebastian Diez; Co-Investigator Tailine Correa dos Santos, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; and Josefina Urquiza, PhD candidate, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina.
Other project collaborators
Other project collaborators include (clockwise from top left): Sergio Ibarra-Espinosa, Postdoctoral Researcher, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States; Carolina Concha, Master's student, Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile; and Iara da Silva, PhD candidate, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.