A collaboration between the US agency and the governments in a region with one of the highest air pollution-related death rates in the world, has resulted in a new project called ASIA-AQ. The study is focusing on the Philippines, where about a third of global air pollution-related deaths exist. Scientists believe that the number of air pollution-related deaths will continue to increase in the coming years.
Starting this week, the US agency’s DC-8 flies for up to eight hours at a time – sometimes just 15 meters off the ground – to collect airborne particles for study. Readings from aircraft can help fill gaps in the ability to interpret satellite data and can lead to more accurate models, which will improve forecasting air quality. The Philippines’ secretary of environment and natural resources believes that a combination of readings from the air, space, and ground is necessary for policies related to public health, industrial compliance, and ecosystem conservation.
Equipped with highly sensitive instruments, NASA lab has flown twice so far this week over some of the most densely populated areas of the Philippines. It was followed by a smaller NASA Gulfstream jet, which is capable of creating three-dimensional maps of airborne pollutants. In the coming weeks, the planes will also conduct exploratory flights over South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand. After a year,