Great Lakes cities clear air

NASA recently unveiled a series of satellite generated images that document significant air quality improvements between 2005 and 2011.

Checkout the improvements in Great Lakes cities like Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Gary, Toledo, Cleveland.

Distribution of nitrogen oxide in 2005. Image: NASA

Distribution of nitrogen oxide in 2005. Image: NASA

Distribution of nitrogen oxide 2011. Image: NASA

Distribution of nitrogen oxide in 2011. Image: NASA

These images show that people are breathing less nitrogen dioxide, a yellow-brown gas that is one of six common pollutants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The gas is associated with automobile exhaust and power plant emissions. NASA says it’s also a good proxy for air pollution in general.

 

More about satellite measurements of air pollution can be found here and here.

And here’s another way of looking at it: United_States_NO2_map

Upending the basin is an occasional column by Great Lakes Echo Editor David Poulson