Smoke and Fire is an interactive visualisation of air pollution in Australia, particularly shipping plume along the east coast of New South Wales.

The aim was to present the data to experts as well as the general public, communicating issues around air pollution and air quality monitoring. To do this, a WebGL-based visualisation was developed along with a set of tools to convert the pre-processed satellite data into a web-friendly format. The general public can also provide feedback using a link on the webpage, or browse the (open-source) source code, or even download the original raw data.

To illustrate air pollution issues, we took a vector-based representation of the globe, overlaid with opaque colours representing different types of pollution sources. The brighter the colours are, the denser fine particles filling that region. Blue represents PM2.5 particle, or particles at 2.5 micrometers diameters. Yellow represents shipping plumes and red spots are strong emission sources where a bushfire has occurred, or a significant amount of smoke has been registered. Emissions from shipping plumes is a well-known pollution source, particularly affecting a harbour city like Sydney.

The visualisation was exhibited at the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (CASANZ) conference in September, 2015.

Click here to go to Smoke and Fire.

Please contact Martin Cope (Oceans & Atmosphere) or Xavier Ho (Information Management & Technology) for further information.