A Geostationary Air Quality Monitoring Platform for Africa
Keywords:Africa, air quality, low Earth orbit, geostationary, Satellite, remote sensing
African populations and economies are growing rapidly, but there are few surface observations to monitor the effects on air quality. Trend analysis of the 19-year record of space-based observations from remote sensors onboard low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites shows that anthropogenic pollution is on the rise. Conversely, biomass burning, the largest contributor to surface ozone, is declining. UVvisible instruments on LEO satellites with daily resolution have provided invaluable constraints on sources, evolution, and transport of air pollution in Africa. Sensors in geostationary orbit (GEO) with hourly resolution and a smaller ground pixel than current and past fleets of LEO satellites would further our understanding of air quality in Africa and address the dearth of surface monitoring sites on the continent. Africa has successfully launched Earth observation platforms to retrieve satellite imagery and should expand its remote sensing capabilities by joining the northern hemisphere constellation of GEO Earth observation satellites.
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