Innovative Applications for the augmented use of satellite observations to support Air Quality management

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

Satellite data play currently a minor role in air quality management. However, based on the latest available satellite earth observation data, and with the future data in sight, methods and algorithms can be developed to improve the assessment of air pollutants as well as the spatial and temporal release of air pollutant emissions as well as precursors with remote sensing data.

Contents and goals

The goal of the project is to develop innovative methods for fostering the usage of satellite data in the field of air pollution control, which will allow improved services and products tailored to the end user needs. Currently ground measurements are used together with emission inventories and model simulations to assess air quality.

The most important requirement for achieving a reduction of air pollution is the ability to accurately locate its emission sources and to determine temporal variation in their strengths, which usually comprise very high uncertainties.


In order to improve results, dispersion models need high-quality input data obtained from spatial and temporal high-resolved emission inventories. Satellite data can be used to fill this gap by providing better temporally resolved emission estimates.

Although the spatial resolution of current satellites is still coarser than that from local inventories, their large spatial coverage and fast availability provide an added value for environmental assessment studies.

Development and application of suitable methods can then improve an efficient ambient air quality management, especially with the newest instruments and with the soon to be launched advanced satellite missions and sensors.

Upcoming European satellite products, e.g. the Sentinel 4/5(p) missions and EUMETSAT Polar System, which focus on atmospheric trace gases and aerosols, will provide a much better temporal and spatial resolution than current instruments.

The foreseen studies in the frame of this project represent important and necessary developments on the assessment of air quality as well as further preparation and improvement of existing emission inventories by this enhanced remote sensing data.

Expected results

Additionally, this project will demonstrate how real-time satellite data can be used to support air quality authorities with improved emission inventories and how temporal patterns of emissions can be determined in more details.

A characterisation of air quality with respect to critical local burdens and background concentration levels can be used for local-scale air quality assessments. Authorities are supported with initiating temporally and spatially appropriate action plans, and benefit in critical situations from the developments in the frame of APP4AQ.

Project Partners

Project management

ZAMG Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics

Project partner

  • AIT
  • EODC
  • EOX
  • TU-Graz

Contact Address

ZAMG Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
Mag. Marcus Hirtl
Hohe Warte 38
A-1190 Vienna