NASA: Ohio River Valley air quality noticeably improving


by WHAS editors

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 6:24 PM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - New EPA standards proposed earlier this month would reduce the amount of carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide, even less in states which rely more on coal for their energy production.

But we're learning from NASA that for some pollution, the picture is already looking better than it has in the last ten years.

WHAS11’s Political Editor Joe Arnold sat down with Dr. Anne Thompson from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland to talk about the changes. She said the commonwealth has already made noticeable changes.

To learn more about the air quality changes, click here.

Click here to see more photos.

“We can see it from space.  We've had an eye in the sky to look at nitrogen dioxide pollution, that also comes from the same stacks that emit some of the carbon gases, and because we've been eager to improve air quality that's the air we're breathing every day,” Thompson said.

“You can see between 2005 and 2011, an incredible improvement, about 40 percent on average for the Ohio River Valley and the regions downwind, that's a good chunk of the East Coast,” Thompson said.

Thompson said this can be taken as a sign that coal can be burned more cleanly.

“That's another part of the equation as well, which is besides the power plants, cars. The improvements that we have made again technology, we've cleaned up car emissions.

"Every city in the country has got more drivers, more cars, more traffic, more miles being driven. But in fact, a car today is emitting 20 times less NO2 - that which we are measuring from the satellite, than say 50 years ago,” Thompson said.