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Satellite-aided evaluation of population exposure to air pollution

June 12, 1990

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 set schedules for states to implement regional, spatial assessments of air quality impacts. Accordingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently published guidelines for quantifying population exposure to adverse air quality impact by using air quality and population data by census tracts. Our research complements the EPA guidelines in that it demonstrates the ability to determine population exposure to air pollution through computer processing that utilizes Landsat satellite-derived land use information. Three variables-a 1985 estimate of total suspended particulates for 2-km2 grid cells, Landsat-derived residential land cover data for 0.45-ha cells, and population totals for census tracts-were spatially registered and cross-tabulated to produce tabular and map products illustrating relative air quality exposure for residential population by 2-km2 cells. It would cost $20,000 to replicate our analysis for an area similar in size to the 4000-km2 Portland area. Once completed, the spatially fine, computer-compatible air quality and population data are amenable to the timely and efficient generation of population-at-risk tabular and map information on a continuous or periodic basis.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1979
Title Satellite-aided evaluation of population exposure to air pollution
DOI 10.1021/es60156a014
Authors William J. Todd, Anthony J. George, Nevin A. Bryant
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Index ID 70112367
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center