An increasing number of people carry a smartphone with internet connection, a camera and considerable computing power in their pocket almost all the time, wherever they go. iSPEX, a spectropolarimetric add-on with complementary App makes use of this opportunity, and instantly turns a smartphone into a scientific instrument to measure dust and other aerosols in our atmosphere. A measurement involves scanning the blue sky, which yields the angular behavior of the degree of linear polarization as a function of wavelength, which can unambiguously be interpreted in terms of size, shape and chemical composition of the aerosols in the sky. The measurements are automatically tagged with location and pointing information, and submitted to a central database where they will be interpreted. Together with observations from other users at random locations, the data is compiled into an aerosol map. Through crowd sourcing, the general public will thus be able to contribute to a better assessment of the presence of different types of aerosols in the atmosphere. It may also improve the understanding of the relationship between atmospheric aerosols and health issues or climate change.
H Volten, F Snik, D Stam, O Hasekamp, CU Keller, S Heikamp, G van Harten, J de Boer, J Rietjens, P Stammes, A Apituley, B Mijling. iSPEX: Measure aerosols with your smartphone!
2012, 2012, CEAMA