SUNDAY, April 14, 2024

Nasa, South Korea launch air quality study in Asia, incl. Thailand

Nasa, South Korea launch air quality study in Asia, incl. Thailand

South Korea's National Institute of Environmental Research and Nasa will conduct joint research in Korean territory to identify sources behind winter air pollution across Asia, the Ministry of Environment in South Korea announced Sunday.

The joint research is scheduled to commence in South Korea on Monday and will extend to Malaysia and Thailand until Mar. 25.

This year's air quality study, scheduled for February to March, coincides with a period of heightened air pollution levels compared to the previously conducted study in 2016, which took place from May to June. This timing is expected to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the factors contributing to wintertime air pollution.

After the observations have been made, the NIER and Nasa will jointly publish their findings as research reports and policy-making reports.

Outside of Korea, Korea’s research team will assist Nasa in conducting air quality research in Asia, while the on-ground research team will set up a station in Chiang Mai, Thailand to investigate the causes and impacts behind smog that occurs in winter.

A remote observatory will also be installed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to validate the performance of the Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer, an environmental satellite launched by Korea in February 2020 to monitor air pollution hourly in 20 Asian countries.

Nasa, South Korea launch air quality study in Asia, incl. Thailand

The joint research first commenced in the Philippines on Feb. 6 and ended on Feb. 13. The air quality research in South Korea will run from Monday to Feb. 26, continue in Malaysia from March 1 to March 11, and conclude in Thailand from March 15 to 25.

This year’s joint research follows the first Korea-United States Air Quality study from May to June 2016. Unlike 2016, this year’s study will expand to other Asian countries including the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand to conduct the Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality test -- also known as ASIA-AQ.

ASIA-AQ will involve more than 500 people from 45 teams from research institutes, including Korea's NIER and Nasa, as well as governmental organizations and related experts from the three other Asian countries.

Additionally, four research aircraft from Korea will be mobilized throughout the research, while Korea acts as a partner country to NASA as a representative of Asia.

To conduct air quality research in Korea, Korea’s GEMS, six air quality research aircraft -- including NASA’s DC-8 jetliner and Gulfstream jet, four ground observation stations and air quality modelling will be used simultaneously.