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Mapping Global Air Pollution Down to the Neighborhood Level

A detailed data viz pinpoints dirty power plants, too.

The map draws from satellite measurements to calculate average particulate matter.

If you’ve ever wondered how air quality in your neighborhood compares to the dirtiest cities in the world, this map is for you.

A team of Yale University environmental researchers just released a map tool that shows concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) across the whole world in pretty astounding detail: each pixel represents a 10-by-10 kilometer square.

PM 2.5 inflicts critical damage on populations exposed to it in high concentrations, says map co-creator Alisa Zomer, manager of the Yale Environmental Performance Index. « PM 2.5 is invisible to the human eye,” she says. “But it penetrates into blood and organ tissues, and can lead to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases." [ read more ]