AI and satellite technology reveals detailed map of air pollution

Artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite technologies reveal that the South-East of England is the most polluted region in Britan. 

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have used satellite data to provide accurate estimates of concentrations of air pollution across the country. 

The model offers measurements provided at a daily level with a 1×1 km grid across the whole of the country. 

This data has highlighted various regional pollution hot spots as well as highlighting pollution spikes in urban and industrial areas. 

However, on a positive note, the data also revealed an overall decline in air pollution during the last decade. 

Currently, scientists rely on ground-based monitors to measure air pollution, however, the researchers have said that using satellite data to measure air pollution could revolutionise our understanding of the related health risks by linking country-wide exposure maps to health databases. 

Using machine learning algorithms, the researchers have combined the datasets to produce estimates of the ground-level concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5). 

The team intend to combine this data with local health records to reveal a granular picture of the association between air pollution and health outcomes across Britan. 

Dr Rochelle Schneider, first author of the study said: ‘This research uses the power of artificial intelligence to advance environmental modelling and address public health challenges.

‘This impressive air pollution dataset represents PM2.5 records for 4,018 days in a spatial domain of 234,429 grid cells. This provides a remarkable total of 950 million data points that comprehensively quantify the level of air pollution across the whole of Great Britain in an eleven-year period.;

Professor Antonio Gasparrini, the senior author of the study, added: ‘This study demonstrates how cutting-edge techniques based on artificial intelligence and satellite technologies can benefit public health research.

‘The output reveals the shifting patterns of air pollution across Great Britain and in time with extraordinary detail. We now hope to use this information to better understand how pollution is affecting the nation’s health, so we can take steps to minimise the risk. The vast amount of data produced will provide a vital tool for public health researchers investigating the effects of air pollution.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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