Going Further


  • Use the techniques you've learned to explore seasonal variation in NO2 concentrations in your own hometown or region.
  • Examine seasonal variation in NO2 concentrations in the Ohio River Valley. Hypothesize about the cause and then look for evidence to support or refute your hypothesis.
  • Use the capabilities of Google Earth to examine and analyze population density in countries around the world. For example, you might compare the population density of the United States to that of China or India.
  • Explore the relationship between NO2 concentration and population for two densely populated countries (e.g., China and India). Come up with a hypothesis to explain the differences you observe, and implement a plan to test your hypothesis.
  • Investigate possible correlations between elevation and population. For example, you might identify mountains with substantial populations near them in several different countries and examine NO2 concentrations in those regions.
  • NASA Aura average monthly NO2 data is available for the most recently completed month of every year, from October 2004 through the present. Consider examining data for one location (e.g., your hometown) over a year, or once each season over several years. Hypothesize about the reasons for any differences you observe, then look for evidence to support or refute your hypothesis.
  • Put your new knowledge on the line: Make predictions about the NO2 concentrations for a location in upcoming months based on past trends. After the data becomes available, check how closely your estimates match the observed data.

Other Data

NASA NEO is an easy to use source of satellite imagery that can be downloaded in Google Earth format. Several NASA NEO datasets that would be interesting to combine with this project include the following:

Solar Insolation
Carbon Monoxide
Aerosol Optical Thickness

Data from the AIRS satellite can be downloaded via the Giovanni interface. Once at the Giovanni site, use the simple instructions, below, to select and download a data set from Giovanni.

  • Choose the CO2 fraction data set,
  • Set temporal and spatial parameters, choose lat-lon map, time averaged.
  • Click generate visualization. Wait while the data is processed.
  • Download the data as a gif image, or as a KMZ file to view in Google Earth.

Other Techniques

NASA Citizen Science Experiment
Air Quality Citizen Science

Related Case Studies

Other EET chapters that utilize Google Earth as a tool and satellite imagery as a data source include the following:

Exploring Monsoon Precipitation and Streamflow in a Semi-arid WatershedLearn about a small, semi-arid watershed in the mountains near Tucson, Arizona.

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