Dr. Margaret Pippin has published some blogs about additional data sources. The first, Investigating GLOBE Air Quality using AerosolWatch discusses how to use publicly available data along with GLOBE data. 

In addition, Investigating GLOBE Air Quality Using PurpleAir discusses how to use and access PM2.5 data from the ground-based small sensors. 





Investigating GLOBE Air Quality from the Ground, to Clouds to Satellites 

The NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative (NESEC), with NASA scientist, Dr. Margaret Pippin, from NASA Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA, USA), hosted a four part Air Quality Webinar Series. The webinar series provides information and tools for exploring aerosols in conjunction with clouds. The videos show how to incorporate additional data sources and provide more than one project example.

  1. Session 1: “How Can GLOBE Cloud Observations Tell an Air Quality Story?” What can clouds tell us about air quality? Find out how cloud observations provide clues about the air. This webinar explores how to integrate data from low-cost sensors with GLOBE cloud observations for air quality investigations. Learn from a NASA scientist how to make cloud observations. 

  2. Session 2: "How Do Satellites Add to the Air Quality Story?” What do aerosols have to do with clouds? This webinar covers NASA’s interest in this topic. A NASA scientist describes aerosols and aerosol optical depth. Learn how to use the GLOBE Visualization tool to look at cloud observations and NASA Terra satellite imagery of Aerosol Optical Depth. Take it further by using more publicly available data to find patterns and events! You will also learn how to use the AerosolWatch site to find satellite images for clouds, aerosols, fires, and smoke.  

  3. Session 3: “How Do Ground Observations Enhance the Air Quality Story?” Learn how GLOBE citizen scientists contribute to the overall picture of air quality, and how they use ground measurements from low-cost sensors to complement their GLOBE observations. View a demonstration of how to use the Purple Air visualization map and download PM 2.5 data. Learn how to access the EPA Fire and Smoke Map for more information. 

  4. Session 4: “How to Tell Your Air Quality Story”  Watch a demonstration of how to use cloud observations, aerosols images, and citizen scientist measurements to connect satellite and ground measurements to tell your air quality story. You will learn how various sources of data complement each other and allow you to craft a story using historical GLOBE data or your own observations. Find weather fronts, fires, dust storms and more. Your host will also provide a template for telling the story about what you discover. 


Publicly available data can be used in conjunction with air quality observations to tell a more complete story about events. The following sources of data are publicly available:

  • AerosolWatch - This NOAA site can be used to select specific dates and parameters including smoke and fire and aerosol optical depth. You can get true color images and VIIRS images. The aerosols data are column data from satellites which can complement ground-based data or be compared with other column data. You can not download data from this site. This resource is only available for the United States.

  • PurpleAir - This website can be used to view real-time PM2.5 data on a worldwide map. However, the map can not be accessed for previous dates and times. These data are ground-based measurements which can complement other ground-based measurements or column data. You can download data from this site. The real-time map has options for parameters including one with the EPA correction factor for the PM2.5 data. The downloaded data are not available with the EPA correction factor. 

  • Worldview - This NASA website presents worldwide satellite imagery organized by data type and event type. The aerosols data are column data. You can download data from this site. 

  • EPA Fire and Smoke Map - This website shows a visualization of PM2.5 data from permanent and temporary monitors as well as low-cost sensors such as PurpleAir across North America.  Visualization options include smoke plumes, large fire incidents and satellite detected fires. This resource is only available in real-time. You cannot select previous dates and times, and you cannot download data.