11 Jul 2012:
Technique ‘Sees Through’ Clouds
To Measure Atmospheric Pollution
U.S. scientists say they have developed a technique to measure atmospheric levels of pollution, including soot, with satellite technology even when skies are cloud-covered. While clouds typically impair a remote-sensing
Clouds over the coastline of Chile and Peru
satellite’s ability to detect pollution levels closer to the ground, University of Iowa scientists say their new technique enables them to calculate particle concentrations
by measuring the degree to which those pollutants affect the properties of the clouds above them. After calculating the number of droplets in the clouds using satellite data, they say, researchers assimilate those results with a numerical model that estimates particle concentrations by describing the interaction between the aerosols and the clouds. “This technique can directly improve predictions of near-surface, fine-mode aerosols — such as coal-fired electric generating plants and wood-fueled cooking stoves — responsible for human health impacts” and low-cloud solar heating, said Greg Carmichael, lead author of the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
e360 on Facebook
Donate to e360
View mobile site
Subscribe to our feed:
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A Yale Environment 360
video explores Ecuador’s threatened Yasuni Biosphere Reserve with scientists inventorying its stunning forests and wildlife. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video that chronicles the story of a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant, was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
In a Yale Environment 360
video, photographer Pete McBride documents how increasing water demands have transformed the Colorado River, the lifeblood of the arid Southwest. Watch the video.