Scientists have developed a new system to monitor pollution from space.
The American, South Korea, and the European Space Agency have worked together on space-based instruments to measure global air quality.
For the first time, scientists will be able to track pollution from space on an hourly basis.
The first instrument was launched on February 18th, which flew into space mounted on a Korean satellite.
NASA plans to send a nearly identical instrument to space aboard a commercial communications satellite in 2022.
They’ll be followed by the European Space Agency’s two instruments that will join its existing air quality monitoring satellites, with the first taking off in 2023.
The data they collect will boost efforts to reign in pollutants including nitrogen dioxide, smog, formaldehyde, and aerosols.
The satellite-mounted instruments will also be able to see whether pollution within a certain region was generated there or whether it wafted over from another country.
Older space-based instruments are limited. They have only been able to measure air pollution once a day. They pass over any given point on Earth at the same time each day.