Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New in EHP: Remote Sensing and Environmental Health

For my third EHP feature in six months I tackled remote sensing (that is, in this case at least, satellite imagery -- the term can refer to any airborne earth observation, including from planes) and applications for environmental health research and management. I honed in on three applications in particular: harmful algal blooms (which I also covered in depth for EHP in August), infectious diseases (particularly malaria and bacterial meningitis, though most any infectious or vector-borne disease with a strong environmental component can be monitored to some extent through remote sensing), and air quality (particularly PM 2.5 and NO2 levels near the earth's surface). Sound intense? It's actually one the best-reading pieces I've penned for EHP, if I do say so myself, because the overview approach we took allowed for a more conversational tone and didn't require getting too in-depth on any one topic. It was fun to research and write, and has received good feedback from the scientists whose work I addressed -- not necessarily the hallmark of good journalism, but in this case valuable, since I focused strictly on the science as opposed to any potential conflicts in the field, which, in any case, didn't come up. Read it here!