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Despite the known health hazards of air pollution, relatively little is known about its distribution patterns and its impacts on local populations in many parts of the world. Pollution has been detected in the remotest places on Earth, leading scientists to recognize a pressing need to identify and monitor not just the sources of air pollutants, but also to develop accurate methods of tracking and measuring their dispersal around the globe by weather and other factors.
Research conducted by Randall Martin at Dalhousie University is painting a more comprehensive and accurate picture of air pollution by drawing on other sources in addition to the traditional stationary monitoring stations (located primarily in urban areas). He uses the combined techniques of satellite remote sensing and the global modelling of atmospheric composition to assess the quality of the air we breathe—whether we live in a large industrial city or a remote rural corner. Dr. Martin has been awarded a 2012 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from NSERC to further his research.
Dr. Martin and his research group will work to improve global estimates of ground-level air quality, develop global “top-down” emission estimates, and contribute to the global Earth observation system of atmospheric composition. These efforts include developing and applying an open-source, global, three-dimensional model of atmospheric composition called GEOS–Chem, which is used by more than 70 institutions worldwide. His work will help inform policies and practices to regulate pollution and reduce its impact on health.