Air Quality Analysis Using Remote Sensing and GIS in the Monterrey, Mexico, Metropolitan Area

This image was developed through the HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model and represents a 72-hour backward trajectory from the city of Monterrey, Mexico. With this information, the Wise Air Quality Team has discovered that Monterrey could be receiving air pollutants from other areas.

This image was developed through the HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model and represents a 72-hour backward trajectory from the city of Monterrey, Mexico. With this information, the Wise Air Quality Team has discovered that Monterrey could be receiving air pollutants from other areas.

Team Locations: Wise County Court House, Wise, Virginia, and Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Authors: Jiaxun Chai, Kaitlyn Collins, Juan Álvarez Martínez, Orlanda Vasquez Jimenez, Samuel A. Dieck.

Advisors/Mentors: Yanina Colón, Giovanni Colberg, Dr. Richard A Ferrare, Dr. Gerardo Mejia.

Abstract: Monterrey is the capital city of Nuevo León, the northeastern state of Mexico bordering the United States. The city accounts for about 95% of the state’s GDP and is known for its strong steel industry. The Monterrey Metropolitan Area (MMA) is one of the most industrialized cities in Mexico, and currently faces air pollution problems caused by several geographic and man-made factors. This, combined with industrial practices, an increasing population, high automobile mileage per capita, and unenforced vehicle emission standards, creates a highly suitable environment for poor air quality. Poor air quality can cause a number of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Based on health data, remote sensing images, geographic observation, and environmental modeling, this study aimed to find the potential relationship between the concentration of particulate matter (PM), and environmental and social factors. This relationship also was considered with the respiratory disease rate in the MMA. The compound PM10 was the major focus of this project.This investigation correspondingly revealed that deaths due to respiratory disease increased as PM10 levels increased, with an estimated lag time of about two years. Although a great amount of air quality data exists, it is generally not in a readable or user-friendly format. Obtaining more understandable data will help government officials take more effective action and raise awareness among the MMA inhabitants. This also will provide more organized data for future research and will allow for the government and other collaborators to continue processing multiple data sets of emissions and other pollutants for further air quality studies in the MMA.

Video transcript available here.