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      The TEMPO instrument measured elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from a number of different areas and emission sources throughout the daytime on March 28, 2024. Yellow, red, purple, and black clusters represent increased levels of pollutants from TEMPO’s data and show drift over time. Credit: Trent Schindler/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio The TEMPO mission gathers hourly daytime scans of the atmosphere over North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Coast, and from Mexico City to central Canada. The instrument detects pollution by observing how sunlight is absorbed and scattered by gases and particles in the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere.
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      NO2 levels are elevated along major traffic corridors including I-35 in Texas with the highest levels between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Elevated NO2 levels are shown across cities including Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, with the highest levels persisting across Houston from morning to evening. Credit: Trent Schindler/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio An early adopter program has allowed policymakers and other air quality stakeholders to understand the capabilities and benefits of TEMPO’s measurements. Since October 2023, the TEMPO calibration and validation team has been working to evaluate and improve TEMPO data products. 
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      High NO2 levels associated with prescribed burns are seen popping up across East Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, beginning around 1:00 p.m. and extending into the evening. Elevated NO2 levels are visible in cities from El Paso to Memphis.Credit: Trent Schindler/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio “Poor air quality exacerbates pre-existing health issues, which leads to more hospitalizations,” said Jesse Bell, executive director at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Water, Climate, and Health Program. Bell is an early adopter of TEMPO’s data.
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      TEMPO observes the northerly transport of NO2 from the Permian basin, a large oil and natural gas producing area spanning parts of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, with the highest levels measured during the morning over the basin. NO2 plumes from coal-fired power plants are visible in the rural areas far west and northwest of Houston and far east of Dallas between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.Credit: Trent Schindler/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio “The National Park Service is using TEMPO data to gain new insight into emerging air quality issues at parks in southeast New Mexico,” explained National Park Service chemist, Barkley Sive. “Oil and gas emissions from the Permian Basin have affected air quality at Carlsbad Caverns and other parks and their surrounding communities. While pollution control strategies have successfully decreased ozone levels across most of the United States, the data helps us understand degrading air quality in the region.” 
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