Free Images of Air Pollution: Download High-Quality Pictures and Clips
A cloud of unhealthy air pollution shrouded the skies of northern India again this week. It's a common sight in satellite images during the autumn and winter months, when the country's poor air quality frequently deteriorates to levels that are harmful to human health.
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India has been grappling with some of the world's worst air quality, as poorly regulated industrial pollution and smoke from agricultural burning chokes many of the country's major cities. According to the World Health Organization , Delhi ranks among the most polluted cities in the world.
Fortunately, pollution levels have improved since earlier this week. On Thursday (Dec. 13), a combination of rain and steadier winds helped clear the air, bringing the air quality index back down to moderate levels.
This image was captured by the NOAA-20 satellite's VIIRS instrument, which scans the entire Earth twice per day at a 750-meter resolution. Multiple visible and infrared channels allow us to detect atmospheric aerosols, such as dust, smoke and haze associated with industrial pollution.
A new online platform that allows for the tracking of air pollution worldwide is now available to the public. The maps, which use data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, show the averaged nitrogen dioxide concentrations using a 14-day moving average. The maps not only show changes over time on a global scale, but also provide the possibility for users to zoom in to areas of interest, for example any city or region over Europe.
Not all dust storms are visible, but very large storms that last for several hours or days can be seen. The most common source of dust globally is the Sahara Desert. These giant storms sweep off West Africa and occasionally reach Florida and the Caribbean. By the time the dust reaches Florida, it is diffuse enough that it is difficult to see. If you live in Florida or the Caribbean, and you suspect that Saharan Dust may be clouding your skies, click on the images of northwest Africa and look back through the previous week to see if dense plumes of dust are coming off the continent. If you see a storm moving towards Florida, you can suggest that dust may be a contributing factor to the air quality.
This daily aerosol image, from May 16, 2009, is mostly black. The aerosol measurement is not made over cloudy or bright areas like deserts or ice. Since most of the Earth is cloudy on any given day, large areas are covered in a black mask. The symmetrical wedges in the center are regions the satellite did not image on May 16. This image illustrates the necessity of analyzing a small region, defined by latitude and longitude, since a visual interpretation of daily data is difficult. Wider patterns are easier to see in the monthly images.
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South Asia suffers from extreme air pollution, which leads to severe health impacts and economic costs. South Asian countries have made strides in strengthening air quality management (AQM) programs, but more work is needed. To effectively reduce air pollution, cooperation across jurisdictions is needed.
The sources of emissions in South Asia are diverse. In addition to emission sources that are common throughout the world, there are activities specific to South Asia that contribute large amounts of PM2.5 in ambient air. At any given location, PM2.5 in ambient air originates from a wide range of upwind sources extending over several hundred kilometers. Effective AQM in South Asia therefore needs to balance measures across sectors and coordinate interventions with other upwind regions. The need for airshed-wide coordination emerges particularly for the urban areas of South Asia, in which a high share of PM2.5 pollution in ambient air is imported from outside the area.
Governments in South Asia are increasingly putting policies in place to reduce air pollution. However, current policies focus on air quality within cities. The analysis in this report shows that cooperation between different jurisdictions within an airshed is crucial, and a schematic roadmap with three phases is proposed. The phases in the roadmap may overlap when the rate of progress differs, depending on local circumstances. The first phase would improve monitoring and institutions, the second phase would introduce additional and joint targets for cost-effective abatement, and the third phase would mainstream air quality in the economy.
To protect public health and agriculture from the adverse effects of air pollution by identifying air pollution problems and developing a comprehensive program to achieve and maintain state and federal air quality standards.
The United States and China are the top two energy consumers in the world. As a consequence, they are also the top two emitters of numerous air pollutants which have local, regional, and global impacts. Urbanization has led to serious air pollution problems in U.S. and Chinese cities; although U.S. cities continues to face challenges, the lessons they have learned in managing energy use and air quality are relevant to the Chinese experience. This report summarizes current trends, profiles two U.S. and two Chinese cities, and recommends key actions to enable each country to continue to improve urban air quality.
Particulate pollution remained high even while Covid-19 slowed the global economy. At the same time, mounting evidence on the health impacts of pollution at low levels led to new guidelines that brought most of the world into the unsafe zone. The AQLI finds that particulate pollution takes 2.2 years off global average life expectancy, or a combined 17 billion life-years, relative to a world that met the WHO guideline (5 µg/m3). This impact on life expectancy is comparable to that of smoking, more than three times that of alcohol use and unsafe water, six times that of HIV/AIDS, and 89 times that of conflict and terrorism.
The average Indonesian can expect to lose 2.5 years of life expectancy at current pollution levels, according to the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), because air quality fails to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline for concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The pollution index shows that the health impacts of particulate pollution are the greatest in Depok, Bandung, and Jakarta, where particulate pollution concentrations are the highest.
The Air Quality Life Index, or AQLI, represents a completely novel advancement in measuring and communicating the health risks posed by particulate matter air pollution. This is because the AQLI converts particulate air pollution into perhaps the most important metric that exists: its impact on life expectancy. The AQLI reveals that, averaged across all women, men, and children globally, particulate matter air pollution cuts global life expectancy short by nearly 2 years relative to what they would be if particulate concentrations everywhere were at the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). This life expectancy loss makes particulate pollution more devastating than communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, behavioral killers like cigarette smoking, and even war.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has claimed 349 lives with 5,327 probable cases reported in mainland China since November 2002. SARS case fatality has varied across geographical areas, which might be partially explained by air pollution level.
Publicly accessible data on SARS morbidity and mortality were utilized in the data analysis. Air pollution was evaluated by air pollution index (API) derived from the concentrations of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ground-level ozone. Ecologic analysis was conducted to explore the association and correlation between air pollution and SARS case fatality via model fitting. Partially ecologic studies were performed to assess the effects of long-term and short-term exposures on the risk of dying from SARS.
Our studies demonstrated a positive association between air pollution and SARS case fatality in Chinese population by utilizing publicly accessible data on SARS statistics and air pollution indices. Although ecologic fallacy and uncontrolled confounding effect might have biased the results, the possibility of a detrimental effect of air pollution on the prognosis of SARS patients deserves further investigation.
Publicly accessible data on SARS morbidity and mortality were utilized in the study.  Case fatality was estimated by dividing the number of reported deaths by the number of probable cases. Air pollution was evaluated by air pollution index (API) provided by the Chinese National Environmental Protection Agency (CNEPA).  CNEPA calculated individual pollution indices for five major air pollutants including particulate matter (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ground-level ozone (O3), and carbon monoxide (CO). The maximal individual pollution index was set as the comprehensive API for the monitoring area. In most of monitoring areas, PM10 was considered as a major pollutant.