How healthy is the air you breathe? What’s the best air for patients suffering of lung diseases? And how is that related to satellite data? On 03.12.2018 at Ars Electronica Center ATMOS was presented to the press. Since 2012 Catalysts has been entrusted by ESA as a software partner for aerosol research from satellite observations. Together with the Université de Lille and GRASP SAS we are developing the incredible GRASP algorithm. Today we’re happy to help ATMOS find the places with the best possible environment and in providing continuous site monitoring.
What is ATMOS?
ATMOS is the city of air. It is a hopeful place where lung disease patients can take a deep breath and stay there for free while their therapies are subject of research. The project puts the cystic fibrosis disease in the focus of public perception and collects funds for affected families and long-term research. Cystic fibrosis is a (still) incurable, non-contagious gene defect. In Austria, each year 20 to 25 babies are diagnosed with it. Similarly, COPD is a global problem and affects around 600 million people. The main cause is bad air.
The quality of respiratory air is not only relevant for lung patients – it is meanwhile a worldwide topic. Studies assume that so far nine millions of deaths are due to particulate matter. An hour-long walk along London’s Oxford Street already leads to measurable inflammation in the lungs. Thus, good air will soon become a decisive economic and location factor.
ATMOS Aerosol Research
The ATMOS Aerosol Research GmbH was founded by Chris Müller (Initiator ATMOS Selfness Resort, Director Tabakfabrik Linz) and Christoph Steindl (CEO Catalysts). Behind it stands a worldwide network of scientists, physicians and data analysts with locations in the USA, France, Romania, Austria, and others.
Aerosols are tiny particles that float in the atmosphere and our climate as well. ATMOS Aerosol Research is extracting data from different sources: satellites and ground monitoring stations run by NASA and ESA, stationary in-situ measurements, or drone flights.
To adequately evaluate the data, the GRASP (Generalized Retrieval of Aerosol and Surface Properties) algorithm is applied. GRASP is a high-precision aerosol retrieval algorithm that processes properties of a wide variety of source data. It is versatile and works under complex conditions, including bright deserts, where reflexions overwhelm the signal of aerosols. The algorithm is developed by Catalysts and researchers of University of Lille in France.
“The GRASP algorithm is able to retrieve more parameters and more accurate values from satellite data than ever before. We use a physical model instead of simpler index calculations. That sets us apart from others. From our research partners in China we know that the air quality there is now also generating economic interests”, says DI Michael Aspetsberger, Segment Leader of Space Sciences at ATMOS Aerosol Research and Space segment at Catalysts.
The ATMOS Aerosol Research GmbH carries out measurements in the following contexts:
- Extended feasibility studies (health tourism, urban planning, etc.)
- Permanent monitoring (e.g. during interventions in a city)
- On-demand research
- Evaluation of air quality (health resorts, therapy centers, etc.)
- Development of instruments
- Early-warning systems for increased aerosol pollution (e.g. yellow haze moving from the Gobi desert via China to Korea)
- Climate research