Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that Los Angeles has been awarded $1.3 million to lead a NASA project that uses existing satellites to better understand, predict and address poor air quality.
“Clean air is a fundamental human right for people everywhere and securing it starts at home, with bold steps to fight air pollution and protect the health of communities left to deal with the consequences of dirty air for far too long,” Garcetti said.
NASA’s investment will fund two years of research to create a platform that integrates data from ground and spaced-based air quality measurements, according to the mayor’s office.
“Our partnership with NASA hands our city another vital tool to predict air quality in our neighborhoods, measure the effectiveness of our efforts to clean our air, create a model for counterparts worldwide and deliver on our promise of equity and sustainability in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said.
When complete, the model will be able to provide local officials with new information to predict local air quality issues and receive detailed feedback on the efforts to reduce air pollution citywide.
“A predictive model based on machine learning, such as the one developed by the city of Los Angeles, will enhance and enable focused air quality science investigations and predictions by facilitating the access, integration, understanding and visualization of disparate datasets locally to satellite sensors,” said Jacqueline Le Moigne, the advanced information systems technology program manager for NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office.
The project — titled Predicting What We Breathe — will also provide city officials with data to address air quality measurement gaps that exist in underserved communities, which are often those most adversely impacted by air pollution, the mayor’s office said.
As a part of the grant, hundreds of small-scale sensors will be installed in areas of South Los Angeles, Wilmington and the San Fernando Valley.
Los Angeles County is home to more than half of the state’s most disadvantaged communities, as determined by CalEnviroScreen, a ranking that uses air pollution and asthma rates as key indicators.’
The NASA program is a partnership between a group of public, private and academic organizations, including the Southern California Air Quality Management District, Safecast, OpenAQ, SmartAirLA, Cal State Los Angeles and the L.A. Data Science Federation.