Satellite data applications for site-specific air quality regulation in the UK: pilot study and prospects

Daniel A. Potts, Emma J. S. Ferranti, Roger Timmis, Andrew S. Brown, Joshua D. Vande Hey

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Atmospheric composition data from satellite platforms offers great potential for improving current understanding of anthropogenic emissions. Whilst this data has been used extensively in research, its use by governments to regulate and assess site-specific legislation compliance is minimal. Here, we outline the regulatory context for air quality regulation in the UK, and present a pilot study highlighting the potential of current instruments. The pilot study demonstrates the capabilities and limitations of the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) for detecting and isolating emissions of NO2 from regulated UK point sources. This study successfully isolated NO2 emissions from a cluster of three closely situated regulated sites in the north east of England, despite their proximity to large urban sources. This is the first time these sites have been resolved from satellite-based observations, and serves as a clear demonstration of the potential of current and future Earth observation data products for site-specific monitoring and investigation within the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1659
Number of pages14
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021


  • air quality
  • regulation
  • satellite data


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