A Global Context for Health Issues Using Remote Sensing Data

A Global Context for Health Issues Using Remote Sensing Data


Source of Support: Institute for Integrative Health

Award Amount: $149,600

Period Covered: 07/01/2010 to 06/30/2012


Innovation in health care can come from unexpected places. Remote sensing data can provide an invaluable context for a wide variety of health issues, such as a good assessment of the ambient concentration of small aerosol particles, PM2.5. Today there are 22 million people in the US alone with asthma, and one of the environmental triggers for asthma are particulates. Various networks of ground-base sensors provide routine measurements of PM2.5, but their spatial coverage is rather sparse, especially in Third World countries. On the other hand, multiple space-borne sensors provide an array of data products on atmospheric aerosols. There is a growing interest in using satellite data (e.g. for air quality and health purposes), but also a growing concern that the currently available satellite data products do not provide what is often needed, the near surface PM2.5 abundance.


We propose to break through this limitation by bringing together data from multiple sensors including the recent LIDAR measurements by CALIPSO that provides vertical profiling of the atmosphere and intelligently fusing them in their appropriate meteorological context (illustrated schematically below). We already have a prototype for this system in place that uses a new methodology, which has won recognition as a NASA Aura mission science highlight, that takes into account the cardinally multi-variate non-linear relationship between the currently available remotely sensed satellite data products and the near surface abundance of PM2.5.


This is just the first of many examples that we envision for an integrated environmental health system. The goal of which is to provide people with optimized personal alerts relevant to their health to enable smart lifestyle choices based on timely environmental information providing a focus on promoting health across the lifespan.