Joshua Apte | Think Globally, Breathe Locally: Sensing Air Pollution for a Planet of Cities

12:00 pm
534 Davis Hall

Co-sponsored by the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Air pollution is the leading global environmental risk for premature death and a persistent cause of health disparities in US cities. Future choices about energy and transportation will have profound impacts on how the levels and spatial patterns of air pollution evolve. Yet widespread gaps in our current air measurement infrastructure hinder our understanding of what we breathe. Here, Dr. Apte will highlight two highly scalable approaches for understanding how urban air pollution varies in space and time, locally and globally. First, using satellite remote sensing observations, he will show how fine particle concentrations have evolved year-by-year in every city on the planet over the past two decades, resulting in a striking divergence in air quality among low- and high-income nations. Second, he will present a new approach for developing exceptionally high-resolution air quality maps for urban areas using specially instrumented Google Street View cars. With data from the Bay Area and beyond, he intends to demonstrate how air pollution varies sharply within our cities and neighborhoods —and the insights these data reveal for designing healthier urban environments.

Dr. Joshua Apte is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, & Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.