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Earth Observation for Air Quality and Health ‘AlpAirEO’ – Alps regional initiative



Recently, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) reported that air pollution contributed to 400.000 annual deaths in the EU. The Alps are special. They host 14 million people and attract many tourists and businesses. Due to the diverse landscape and climate, pollution hotspots can develop in certain areas while pristine environments prevail throughout most of the high Alpine regions.

As part of the “eo4alps” initiative ESA held a workshop in June 2018 with leading scientists to discuss the potential benefits of earth observation of the Alpine region. “Air quality & health” was identified as one of four priority actions. The project “AlpAirEO” will use state-of-the-art technology to deliver innovative science and information services to support expert and non-expert stakeholders and thereby help to improve the general quality of life in the Alps. By approach of co-design, the needs of the health community will be addressed.

Satellites EO in conjunction with atmospheric models and surface observations can deliver the spatial coverage and quality needed. The project will look into the available data from operational instruments like MODIS and GOME-2 and especially the new Sentinel mission instruments starting with Sentinel 3 SLSTR for aerosols and Sentinel 5P TropOMI covering NO2. Additionally, the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) and Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) will provide important information on atmospheric constituents and climate indicators. For reference, surface-based data from observation networks for the Alpine region will also be taken into consideration. The unprecedented capabilities of the new Sentinels and the Copernicus services will be combined with available environmental information and demographic data, e.g. population density. By following the recommendations of WMO-CCI and WHO, the findings of epidemiological studies and evidence of regional health statistics, daily information on health risk due to environmental stress can be derived.Results will be made freely available based on the Bioclimatic Information System hosted by AlpEnDAC as part of the Virtual Alpine Observatory.

Project lead: German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Project Duration: 2020 – 2022


Discover more projects, activities and resources on the Alps regional initiative (EO4ALPS) page.



Regional Initiatives
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