New Air Tracker Helps Utahans Trace Sources of Pollution

New Air Tracker Helps Utahans Trace Sources of Pollution

SALT LAKE CITY – A new tool developed with the help of a University of Utah professor is on a mission to help track air pollution and teach people about the air they breathe.

“Air Tracker”, unveiled earlier this month by the Environmental Defense Fund, is a unique tool that allows online users to track air pollution around them.

One of the experts who helped develop this advanced technology was Professor John Lin of the University of Utah, who works in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

“We’ve had a research tool to track the air for a long time, for decades now, but there are a lot of hurdles to using it, we run it on university supercomputers, and there are a lot of technical tools needed to make this work,” Lin explained. “But Environmental Defense Fund had the brilliant idea of ​​trying to make this tool available to the average person.”

Air Tracker relies on STILT, which stands for Stochastic Time Inverted Lagrangian Transport Model, as well as weather forecasting models to predict the path probability of pollution.

“So this tool provides the way to track the air,” Lin said. “So what the tool basically does is it tracks the air moving backwards over time and then marks the potential pollution source region in your area.”

The technology is so new that it has only been introduced in three cities so far; Salt Lake City, Houston and Pittsburgh.

Lin hopes Utah residents will take advantage of this new tool to learn more about the air they breathe.

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