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Breezometer visualization of 24 hours of air pollution in Brooklyn. Credit: Breezometer

An Israeli startup is providing near block-by-block analysis and forecasts of air quality data.

Why it matters: The more we learn about air pollution, the worse it appears for us — even at what seem like low levels. Being able to visualize the dynamic state of air quality at a granular level can help people protect their health, and even decide where to live.

How it works: Breezometer taps air quality sensors to create a microlocal forecast that changes every 15 ft. to 16 ft., in real time, says Ran Korber, the company's founder and CEO.

  • Users can see air pollution levels not just in their region or city, but along their block.

Details: Machine-learning algorithms can forecast air quality for dozens of pollutants with what Korber says is 90% confidence six hours into the future, though that accuracy declines over longer periods.

By the numbers: The global air quality monitoring market is valued at nearly $5 billion according to one estimate and is projected to grow by more than 5% a year.

  • COVID-19 severity has been connected to air pollution, and Korber says he has noticed an uptick in users looking to Breezometer to tell them "where they should live during lockdown."

The bottom line: As sensors of all kinds become more sensitive, less expensive and more ubiquitous — and as algorithms that can make sense of those readings improve — expect more products like this one.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 15, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Study finds viable pathways to "net-zero" U.S. emissions by 2050

The gas-powered Valley Generating Station in the San Fernando Valley on March 10, 2017. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

A major Princeton University-led analysis concludes there's a range of economically beneficial and technologically feasible options for reaching "net-zero" U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 — but big investments and supportive policies would need to begin now.

The big picture: President-elect Joe Biden has embedded that 2050 target in his plan, and a number of states and major corporations share that goal or similar ones. More broadly, net-zero emissions by midcentury is considered a global goal for avoiding some of the most damaging effects of climate change.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Phone logs show Jan. 6 National Guard approval was delayed

Pittman at a congressional tribute for fallen officer Brian Sicknick. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later.

Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.

Manhattan prosecutors reportedly obtain millions of pages of Trump's tax records

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney is now in possession of millions of pages of former President Trump's tax and financial records, CNN first reported, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed prosecutors to enforce a subpoena after a lengthy legal battle.

Why it matters: Trump fought for years to keep his tax returns out of the public eye and away from prosecutors in New York, who are examining his business in a criminal investigation that was first sparked by hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.