Send in the Clouds: Examining Air Quality in the Gulf of Mexico

Category: Responding to Human Health Risks
Project Team: Gulf of Mexico Health and Air Quality
Team Location: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, Maryland

2005 Terra MODIS Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) measurements and corresponding annual time series showing high emissions hotspots of BOEM PM 2.5 measurement emissions in red. Image Credit: Gulf of Mexico Health & Air Quality Team

2005 Terra MODIS Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) measurements and corresponding annual time series showing high emissions hotspots of BOEM PM 2.5 measurement emissions in red. Image Credit: Gulf of Mexico Health & Air Quality Team

Authors:
Amanda Clayton
Lori Mandable

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. Robert Levy (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Dr. Pawan Gupta (NASA Applied Remote Sensing Training, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Past/Other Contributors:
Sean McCartney (Center Lead)

Abstract:

The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the Gulf of Mexico houses more than 3,000 offshore oil and gas production facilities. These facilities emit criteria pollutants that are known to have both human health and environmental impacts. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is tasked with monitoring the onshore impacts of these emissions under federal regulations. Current practice requires that facility operators collect monthly emissions inventory data which is used to model air quality. NASA Earth observations were utilized to produce a long-term, regional study in the Gulf of Mexico to monitor changes in air quality. Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Aura Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) data were used to create emissions profiles for PM 2.5, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide for the Gulf of Mexico. These data were then validated against ground truth data using NASA’s AERONET dataset comparison and correlation tool. Post validation, time series, and time averaged maps were created to illustrate emissions over the 2000-2015 timeframe. Lastly, satellite data were extracted and correlated with data provided by BOEM’s platform sites to identify areas where emissions levels are above the permitted thresholds. The project methodology will allow BOEM to incorporate satellite data for monitoring atmospheric plumes associated with offshore drilling by oil and natural gas platforms to address future environmental concerns in the Gulf of Mexico.

Previous story | Main Page | Next story

 

Topic:

Tags: