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Assessing the Value of Enhanced AirNow Data

Summary

Publications & Results

Press Releases & News Stories

Partners

Funding Sources

Scope of Work

Related Websites

Contact Information

Summary
The purpose of this project is to assess the potential benefits of using AirNow air quality information that has been enhanced with NASA satellite data from the perspective of selected government agencies, communities, and other stakeholders. A case study approach that represents a variety of contexts for implementing the initiative will be used. In addition, the cases will be supplemented with national or state-level data where available.

Publications & Results
Reports and Working Papers (4)
Report cover
Socioeconomic Benefits of Adding NASA Satellite Data to AirNow
Wed, 18 Dec 2013 >Download PDF
This report presents the results from a study that evaluated the socio-economic and financial benefits of adding NASA satellite data to AirNow. The benefits were evaluated using two approaches: 1) Face-to-face interviews in three case study locations (Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; and Kansas City, Missouri) to assess the public value or community-level benefits and 2) Analysis of cost savings of using satellite data instead of installing new monitors to provide air quality information for public health decisions to populations in currently unmonitored locations. This report was prepared by CTG and STI for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.

Air Quality Data Use, Issues, and Value in Colorado
Wed, 18 Dec 2013 >Download PDF
This case describes the air quality conditions and related programs and issues centered in the area around Denver, Colorado, including an urban corridor from Ft. Collins in the north to Pueblo in the south. It is part of a larger study to understand how air quality information is currently used at the community level and to assess the potential benefits of enhancing air quality monitoring data from ground sensor networks with data gathered by satellites.

Air Quality Data Use, Issues, and Value in Georgia
Wed, 18 Dec 2013 >Download PDF
This case describes the air quality conditions and related programs and issues centered in the area around Atlanta, Georgia. It is part of a larger study to understand how air quality information is currently used at the community level and to assess the potential benefits of enhancing air quality monitoring data from ground sensor networks with data gathered by satellites.

Air Quality Data Use, Issues, and Value in Missouri
Wed, 18 Dec 2013 >Download PDF
This case describes the air quality conditions and related programs and issues centered in the area around Kansas City, Missouri. It is part of a larger study to understand how air quality information is currently used at the community level and to assess the potential benefits of enhancing air quality monitoring data from ground sensor networks with data gathered by satellites.


Press Releases & News Stories
Press Releases

Center for Technology in Government Releases Report and Case Studies on the Benefits of Air Quality Information
Wed, 26 Mar 2014


Partners
Government Partners

Corporate Partners

Funding Sources
This project is funded by Sonoma Technology, Inc. under contract with the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Original Scope of Work
AirNow is the national repository of real-time air quality data and forecasts for the United States and is the main vehicle for providing timely Air Quality Index (AQI) information to the public and media. It provides hourly data from over 130 state and local air quality agencies to the media and other environmental stakeholders and regional consortia. Drawing data from a network of more than 2000 monitors that measure ozone and particle pollution data, AirNow is designed to provide the public with air quality information that can be used to make daily lifestyle decisions by helping people take precautionary measures to avoid or limit their exposure to air pollution. Community-level action or awareness days, based on air quality forecasts, are used to implement voluntary programs to reduce pollution and improve local air quality. AirNow also supplies data to government agencies, researchers, and the media for analysis and public outreach and education.

Extensive as the monitor network is, considerable gaps exist in certain parts of the U.S. Even areas with more monitors still lack granular information to resolve some air quality events (e.g.,fires). Thus some areas of the U.S. have little or no air quality data while others that have reasonable coverage lack detail. Monitors are expensive to deploy and maintain; thus, EPA is seeking other means for improving coverage and detail. One method is to incorporate NASA satellite estimates of particulates into AirNow. Currently these satellite estimates are updated twice per day, but future plans provide for hourly updates. Satellite-estimated data can provide information about particle pollution for many places where ground monitors do not exist, and the satellite data can supplement ground monitors, providing better additional information for use in analysis and forecasting.

This study will address the ways in which current and satellite-enhanced AirNow data can contribute to socioeconomic benefits. The socioeconomic benefits will be assessed through local case studies, which will describe existing uses of AirNow information and the potential value of incorporating NASA satellite data in each case study location. The analysis will describe challenges, limitations, and successes related to each case study’s current use of AirNow data and expected use of satellite-enhanced data. Estimates of potential socioeconomic benefits (e.g., health effects, quality of life effects) in each case study area will be prepared using local data on health effects, historical trends in AQ, and other measures. Individual case reports will be prepared as well as an overall report on the factors that affect the ability of government organizations to communicate air quality data and the ability of consumers to understand and use it.

Each case will evaluate the current use of AirNow data and potential use of satellite-enhanced AirNow data using the following questions:

Related Websites

AirNow

Contact Information
Center for Technology in Government
University at Albany, SUNY
187 Wolf Road, Suite 301
Albany, NY 12205
(518) 442-3892 (phone)
(518) 442-3886 (fax)
Brian Burke
Senior Program Associate
(518) 442-3895 (Phone)
(518) 442-3886 (Fax)