Despite its high health risks, air pollution remains among the most important environmental problems of mankind. Although deterioration of the atmophersic environment is more visible in developing countries that still rely on old combustion technologies for energy production and transportation, large cities in developed countries also suffer from poor air quality as current treatment technologies cannot fully reduce air pollution emissions.
At GRS we develop advanced tools and techniques for monitoring the quality of the air at local, regional and global scales. To achieve that we design, build and deploy inexpensive gas sensors and aerosol instrumentation for spatially distributed measurements, as well as tools and algorithms for remote sensing observations using ground-based instruments and satellites. As an example, we develop and use highly portable and inexpensive monitors that can be used in large number to determine the spatial distribution of particulate matter concentrations in cities. These instruments are also used onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), providing an alternative tool to the remote sensing techniques for atmospheric profiling. Our observational data are used for improving the predictability of air quality models, and in epidemiological studies that aim to better assess the impacts of our every day activities on human health.