UMBC's long-standing partnership with NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center to monitor global air quality is in the media spotlight today, as the world's attention focuses on the start of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China and the effects of the city's air pollution on athletes and spectators.
Simon Carn, an assistant research scientist at UMBC's Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET), was quoted in an Aug. 6 New York Times "Dot Earth" blog post. "Dot Earth" is a blog about the earth, the environment and sustainability by noted science writer Andrew Revkin.
Revkin's post looked at comparisons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) levels in the U.S., Europe and China. SO2, the pollutant that contributes to acid rain, has been banned for years in the U.S. and Europe.
Carn and colleagues in the SO2 Monitoring Group of UMBC JCET/Goddard Space Flight Center studied how satellite images and analysis of the SO2 levels in the air over the three continents showed how China's emphasis on economic growth and lack of expensive, Euro/U.S.-style "smokestack scrubbing" technology for coal-burning power plants and anti-SO2 regulations have left China with backwards-in-time air quality compared to the West.
UMBC/NASA also partner on the "Smog Blog," a daily look at U.S. and global air quality using NASA satellite data. The Smog Blog has also been keeping a close eye on Beijing's air.