Press Release

Board View

Joint Air Quality Investigation in Asia with NASA... Full Mobilization of Observation Equipment

▷ Conducting three-dimensional air quality observations and proposing improvement measures using ships, ground-based methods, aircraft, and satellites in major Asian cities, including in South Korea

In an effort to enhance air quality across Asia, including Korea, and validate Asian observation data from a geostationary environmental satellite (GEMS*), the National Institute of Environmental Research, under the Ministry of Environment, revealed plans to collaboratively conduct a comprehensive survey on Asian air quality (ASIA-AQ/SIJAQ**) with NASA during the period from February to March.

* GEMS (Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer): A Korean geostationary environmental satellite (launched in 2020)

** ASIA-AQ/SIJAQ (Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality/Satellite Integrated Joint Monitoring of Air Quality) 

The National Institute of Environmental Research and NASA have expanded the target region and participating countries from South Korea to Asia (Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand) after the first international joint air quality investigation (KORUS-AQ*, May to June 2016). In South Korea, a joint observation will be conducted for approximately one week from February 19 to 26.

* KORUS-AQ (KORea and US-Air Quality): South Korea and US International Joint Air Quality Investigation

In particular, unlike the first international joint air quality investigation in 2016, this Asia air quality joint investigation utilizes the world's first geostationary environmental satellite as a crucial tool. Additionally, four domestic research aircraft are participating, making South Korea represent the Asian region as a collaborating country with NASA.

The Asia air quality joint investigation involves approximately 45 teams totaling over 500 participants, including research institutions from both South Korea and the United States (such as the National Institute of Environmental Research and NASA), government agencies and research institutions from Asian countries, societies, and academic experts. The National Institute of Meteorological Sciences is participating in airborne, maritime, and ground observations for greenhouse gas measurements, while the Aviation Meteorological Office is expected to provide weather forecasting support.

※ Participating Organizations: National Institute of Environmental Research, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research Institute of Public Health and Environment, National Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Aviation Meteorological Office, Korea University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul National University, Pukyong National University, NASA, Princeton University, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Philippines), Department of Environment (Malaysia), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia), Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Thailand), Rajabhat University (Thailand), etc.


In South Korea, 6 aircraft and environmental satellites, 4 ground observation stations, and 12 remote sensing stations are utilized, along with air quality modeling. NASA will deploy 2 research aircraft (DC-8*, Gulfstream**) to South Korea, and South Korea will actively participate in NASA's airborne observations. Additionally, South Korea will independently conduct observations with 4 aircraft, satellite- and ground-based observations, and air quality modeling simultaneously. 

* DC-8: An air quality observation aircraft known as the "flying science laboratory," approximately 48 meters in length

** Gulfstream, 1 unit: Aircraft designed for air quality remote sensing (G-III)

In the case of overseas activities, the domestic research team collaborates in airborne observations with NASA to conduct air quality investigations in various regions of Asia. The ground research team installs ground observation stations in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to investigate the causes and impacts of winter smog. Additionally, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a remote sensing station is installed to utilize environmental satellite verification. After the observations, both institutions have agreed to jointly publish research papers, preliminary comprehensive reports for policymakers, and final reports based on the investigation results. They also plan to participate in the analysis of results from other Asian countries, including the Philippines. 

Yoo Myung-soo, Director of the Climate and Air Quality Research Department at the National Institute of Environmental Research, stated, "Following this joint investigation, we will share the observation results through academic meetings and workshops. In the long term, we aim to support air quality management policies by identifying the causes of atmospheric pollution not only in the metropolitan area but also in Asia. Additionally, to ensure that residents are not startled during low-altitude flights in the metropolitan area, we plan to actively notify the local authorities and residents about the flight schedule."

For further information, please contact the Public Relations Division. 

Contact person: Gina Lee, foreign media spokesperson

Phone: +82-44-201-6055

Email: gcjgina