Satellite data of atmospheric pollutants are becoming more widely used in the decision-making and environmental management activities of public, private sector and non-profit organizations. They are employed for estimating emissions, tracking pollutant plumes, supporting air quality forecasting activities, providing evidence for "exceptional event" declarations, monitoring regional long-term trends, and evaluating air quality model output. However, many air quality managers are not taking full advantage of the data for these applications nor has the full potential of satellite data for air quality applications been realized. A key barrier is the inherent difficulties associated with accessing, processing, and properly interpreting observational data. A degree of technical skill is required on the part of the data end-user, which is often problematic for air quality agencies with limited resources. Therefore, we 1) review the primary uses of satellite data for air quality applications, 2) provide some background information on satellite capabilities for measuring pollutants, 3) discuss the many resources available to the end-user for accessing, processing, and visualizing the data, and 4) provide answers to common questions in plain language.
Atmospheric Environment (ISSN 1352-2310); 94; 647-662