Evaluating the Utility of High-Resolution Spatiotemporal Air Pollution Data in Estimating Local PM2.5 Exposures in California from 2015–2018

Laura Gladson, Nicolas Garcia, Jianzhao Bi, Yang Liu, Hyung Joo Lee, Kevin Cromar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Air quality management is increasingly focused not only on across-the-board reductions in ambient pollution concentrations but also on identifying and remediating elevated exposures that often occur in traditionally disadvantaged communities. Remote sensing of ambient air pollution using data derived from satellites has the potential to better inform management decisions that address environmental disparities by providing increased spatial coverage, at high-spatial resolutions, compared to air pollution exposure estimates based on ground-based monitors alone. Daily PM2.5 estimates for 2015–2018 were estimated at a 1 km2 resolution, derived from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite instrument and the Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) algorithm in order to assess the utility of highly refined spatiotemporal air pollution data in 92 California cities and in the 13 communities included in the California Community Air Protection Program. The identification of pollution hot-spots within a city is typically not possible relying solely on the regulatory monitoring networks; however, day-to-day temporal variability was shown to be generally well represented by nearby ground-based monitoring data even in communities with strong spatial gradients in pollutant concentrations. An assessment of within-ZIP Code variability in pollution estimates indicates that high-resolution pollution estimates (i.e., 1 km2) are not always needed to identify spatial differences in exposure but become increasingly important for larger geographic areas (approximately 50 km2). Taken together, these findings can help inform strategies for use of remote sensing data for air quality management including the screening of locations with air pollution exposures that are not well represented by existing ground-based air pollution monitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Air pollution models
  • Air quality management
  • Exposure assessment
  • Monitoring networks
  • Satellite remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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