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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.

Updated 34 mins ago - World

Biden cleans up comments about Russia invading Ukraine

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden sought to clarify his suggestion that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine may not draw the same response as a large invasion, telling reporters Thursday that "Russia will pay a heavy price" if any troops cross the border.

Why it matters: Some officials in Kyiv saw Biden's comments as inviting Russian aggression.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
47 mins ago - Health

Study finds bias against Black patients written into medical charts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Black patients were more than two-and-a-half times as likely as white patients to have negative descriptors about them in their electronic health record, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: The study is further evidence of bias in the U.S. health care system, which can ultimately result in worse care and disparately poor outcomes.