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NASA aircraft in Taiwan again to conduct air quality research

03/27/2024 12:39 PM
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A NASA aircraft flies past Taitung Airport in eastern Taiwan Wednesday. CNA photo March 27, 2023
A NASA aircraft flies past Taitung Airport in eastern Taiwan Wednesday. CNA photo March 27, 2023

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) NASA deployed two research aircraft to Taiwan on Wednesday for a fourth and final time in 2024 to conduct research on air pollution aimed at helping Taiwan improve its air quality management, the Ministry of Environment said in a statement.

The aircraft -- a DC8 and a GIII -- arrived in Taiwan from Thailand at around 11 a.m. Wednesday and were set to fly in the skies above central and southern Taiwan for about two to three hours, the ministry said.

The GIII will be cruising at 28,500 feet (8,600 meters), while the DC8 is set to cruise at 2,000 feet, and fly as low as 46 feet at Tainan and Chiayi airports, according to the ministry.

Similar to previous flights on Feb. 15, Feb. 28, and March 13, NASA's flights on Wednesday are part of its Seven SouthEast Asian Studies Mission, a project monitoring air quality across Asia, the ministry said.

CNA photo March 27, 2024
CNA photo March 27, 2024

The flights are also part of a 48-hour air quality monitoring project taking place in southern Taiwan, with the latest one having started at 8 a.m. Tuesday, it said.

The collaboration with NASA is aimed at identifying the cause of air pollution in Kaohsiung and Pingtung and at helping improve Taiwan's air quality management through various measures, including assessing different regulatory strategies, the ministry said.

NASA's mission on March 13 found the main causes of "unhealthy" air quality in Kaohsiung and Pingtung to include smog from China, air pollutants from Southeast Asia caused by burning biofuels, and air pollutant accumulation in central and southern Taiwan, it said.

A total of 700 pollutant samples, including ozone, fine particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds, have been collected in the three previous air quality monitoring missions, the ministry said.

(By Chang Hsiung-feng and Bernadette Hsiao)

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Source: Ministry of Environment
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