NASA scientists announced the agency’s Aura spacecraft is providing the first daily, direct global measurements of low-level ozone and many other pollutants affecting air quality.
For the first time, Aura will help scientists monitor global pollution production and transport with unprecedented spatial resolution. Aura’s measurements offer new insights into how climate changes influence the recovery of the Earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer.
Aura’s instruments study tropospheric chemistry and will provide daily, global monitoring of air pollution. The complexity of pollution transport makes it difficult to quantify how much industry and cars contribute to poor local air quality. Also, the presence of stratospheric ozone sandwiched between the satellite and the troposphere makes seeing tropospheric ozone very difficult. Aura’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) uses new technology to see through the stratospheric ozone layer, to measure tropospheric ozone.
Aura also provides new insights into the physical and chemical processes that influence the health of the stratospheric ozone layer and climate. It’s producing the most complete suite of chemical measurements ever available to understand the ozone layer and its recovery.
Launched July 15, 2004, Aura is the third and final major Earth Observing System satellite. Aura’s view of the atmosphere and its chemistry will complement the global data already being collected by NASA’s other Earth Observing System satellites. These projects are Terra, primarily focused on land, and Aqua, which comprehensively observes Earth’s water cycle.
Aura carries four instruments: Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS), High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) and the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES). OMI was built by the Netherlands and Finland in collaboration with NASA. HIRDLS was built by the United Kingdom and the United States.