Researchers have created a new tool for visualizing carbon dioxide emissions that could help policymakers and the public better understand where and how pollution is formed. Developed by researchers at Arizona State University and Purdue University, a new software system called “Hestia” shows hourly, building-by-building dynamics of carbon dioxide emissions in the city of Indianapolis.

"Cities have had little information with which to guide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – and you can't reduce what you can't measure," said Kevin Gurney, an associate professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences, and senior scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability. "With Hestia, we can provide cities with a complete, three-dimensional picture of where, when and how carbon dioxide emissions are occurring."

The research team created the tool by gathering data from local air pollution reports, traffic counts, and tax assessor parcel information. The collected data is then visualized by a modeling system that quantifies carbon dioxide levels by individual building and street segment.

Projects in Los Angeles, Calif, and Phoenix, Ariz., are also under way but not yet completed. The researchers said they hope to eventually map carbon dioxide emissions in all major U.S. cities. Ultimately researchers said they hope providing such information will help leaders make decisions that reduce greenhouse gases and create a cleaner environment.

Read an in-depth report on the Arizona State University news website.

Photo (above): A screenshot from the Hestia program. Courtesy of Arizona State University.