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Forecasting and Risk Communication

Air Pollution in Your City

+ Kevin Cromar

Abstract

FORECASTING AIR POLLUTION IN YOUR CITY

Air pollution estimates are made using satellite data, information about global emissions, advanced weather forecasting, state-of-the art chemical modeling, and machine learning to tailor the results to individual cities. The most important aspect of this information is that it can provide predictions of air pollution values for the next five days. These forecasts can help residents in your city know beforehand when severe pollution episodes will occur; help individuals make plans regarding their outdoor activities; and provide information to improve local air quality management decisions.

COMMUNICATION OF HEALTH RISKS

In addition to providing estimates of outdoor concentrations of multiple air pollutants (PM2.5, NO2, O3 and SO2) a health-based air quality index has also been created that can easily communicate the combined risks of multiple air pollutants on a day-to-day basis. These easy-to-understand values are particularly useful for individuals that are sensitive to outdoor air pollution such as people with asthma and other respiratory diseases.

TAILORING THE DATA TO YOUR CITY

Air pollution and risk communication index values can be further tailored to the specific conditions in your city if you provide additional local data to the NASA and NYU project team. Sharing data is not required to access the forecasted pollution values and health-based air quality index. However, it can help improve the usefulness of the forecasts for your city. Three examples are provided on the next page to illustrate how sharing data helped to improve the specificity of air pollution and risk communication information for individual cities.

Air Pollution in Your City

Kevin Cromar is the Director of the Air Quality program and Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management.

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