Air quality under new scrutiny

28 October 2014

As part of the preparations for the Sentinel-5 Precursor air-quality monitoring mission, scientists teamed up in Romania recently to test different airborne systems that will be used to ensure this new satellite delivers accurate measurements of pollutants in the air we breathe.

The World Health Organization estimates that around 3.7 million people died prematurely in 2012 as a result of being exposed to outdoor air pollution.

With air pollution now the world's largest single environmental health risk, it has never been more important to monitor the air we breathe.

Governments and bodies such as the World Health Organization rely heavily on satellite data and computer models showing how pollution drifts in the air so that they can develop appropriate mitigation strategies.

Planned to be launched in 2016, Sentinel-5P will provide timely data on a multitude of trace gases and aerosols affecting air quality and the climate. The mission will also pinpoint pollution hotspots where public health could be at risk.

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