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Webinar: Observing NO2 air pollution inequality in U.S. cities from space

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Wednesday, 01 December 2021, 12:00

Wednesday, December 1, 2021. 12:00 PM. Webinar: Observing NO2 air pollution inequality in U.S. cities from space. Sponsored by NOAA. Sally Pusede, University of Virginia. More information here. Register here.

Abstract: Poor air quality disproportionately burdens communities of color and low-income communities in U.S. cities. Research to describe and explain these disparities has been limited by the lack of observations resolving steep atmospheric pollutant gradients and providing temporal information useful for source identification. In this talk, I present work using measurements from the space-based TROPOMI sensor to observe nitrogen dioxide (NO2) inequalities in major U.S. cities. I demonstrate that TROPOMI captures NO2 disparities at the census tract scale, using very high spatial resolution airborne remote sensing in Houston, Texas and New York City, New York as the basis of comparison. I discuss key uncertainties, focusing on retrieval and sampling issues central to the application of satellite measurements to environmental justice decision-making. I also share an analysis using TROPOMI to quantify NO2 inequalities in 52 major U.S. cities, taking advantage of weekday-weekend patterns in diesel truck traffic to observationally constrain the contribution of toxic diesel emissions to NO2 disparities. I conclude by presenting avenues for future research, highlighting the potential of next- generation satellite remote sensing to transform our understanding of air pollution disparities and broaden the demands people can make on their policymakers.

Bio(s): Professor Sally Pusedethis link opens in a new window is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia (UVA). She received her PhD in Physical Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and did her postdoctoral research at the NASA Langley Research Center under the NASA Postdoctoral Program. She joined the faculty at UVA in 2015 and has received numerous awards for both teaching and research, including the UVA Tice Prize for Research Excellence. In 2021, she was awarded the NASA New (Early Career) Investigator Program Award and the NSF CAREER Award.

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