Detection of air pollution in urban areas using monitoring images

Ying CHU, Fan CHEN, Hong FU, Hengyong YU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Air quality monitoring in polluted environments is of great significance to human health. Traditional methods use various pieces of meteorological equipment, which have limited applications in complex terrains and high costs. In this paper, a novel idea is put forward to solve the problem of air pollution monitoring in urban areas. We investigate whether air quality can be assessed visually by examining the haziness of photos from a far distance. Specifically, the correlation between the air quality indexes, such as the AQI, PM2.5, and PM10, of real outdoor scenarios and the haziness level evaluation scores of the monitoring images is calculated. The results show that the objective indicators can indeed reflect the level of air pollution, and the degree of correlation is invariant to the image size. To apply this new observation to a practical system, a novel method called fastDBCP (fast dark and bright channel prior) is developed. Based on a down-sampling strategy, a ratio is calculated between the dark and bright channel prior information in scaled images and adopted as the visual index of air pollution. Our experimental results show that the proposed metric not only demonstrates advantages in terms of its correlation degree and computational speed, but also shows a high level of classification accuracy compared to that of competing metrics. Copyright © 2023 by the authors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number772
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


Chu, Y., Chen, F., Fu, H., & Yu, H. (2023). Detection of air pollution in urban areas using monitoring images. Atmosphere, 14(5), Article 772.


  • Air pollution
  • Monitoring image
  • Haze level evaluation
  • Air quality index
  • Image quality assessment
  • Down-sample
  • Dark channel prior
  • Bright channel prior


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