5P Focus on Nitrogen Dioxide for Air Pollution

The craft was launched last month with the task of monitoring air quality around the world

The craft was launched last month with the task of monitoring air quality around the world

New satellite images show the shocking extent of air pollution across the world.

The craft was launched last month with the task of monitoring air quality around the world and is now being readied for full operations. And, while these first results demonstrate the sophistication of the satellite's instrument, they certainly bring the issue of air pollution sharply into focus. Nitrogen dioxide is most commonly a result of road traffic.

Nitrogen dioxide is mainly caused by vehicle emissions and in industrial processes.

The animation shows parts of Asia, Africa and South America with the highest levels of pollution, displayed as a bright red colour.

Sentinel-5P also reveals high levels of pollution from power plants in India.

"These first images offer a tantalizing glimpse of what's in store and are not only an important milestone for the Sentinel-5P mission, but also an important milestone for Europe".

Josef Aschbacher, ESA's Director of Earth Observation Programmes, said, "Sentinel-5P is the sixth satellite for the EC Copernicus environmental monitoring programme but the first dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere". The satellite is equipped with instruments that can monitor our atmosphere and map the levels of gases like nitrogen dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide, affecting the quality of air. It carries the most advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer to date, according to the UK Space Agency, which includes Tropomi, developed by Airbus DS Netherlands for the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Netherlands Space Office.

Another shows ash and smoke from the Mount Agung volcanic eruption in Bali, Indonesia on 27 November 2017.

Stefan Dech, Director of DLR's Earth Observation Center, said, "These first images are astonishing, especially given the satellite is still in the early stages of being commissioned for operations".

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