Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A mathematical model developed at the School of Computing is forecasting air quality across a number of European cities

26.11.2007
Led by Dr. Roberto San José, the Environmental Software and Modelling Group (GMSMA) at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’s School of Computing, has developed an advanced modelling system to forecast air quality, called OPANA. OPANA is now operating across a number of European cities.

Founded in 1992, the GMSMA has built a complex air quality simulation system that is at the leading edge in meteorology, environmental physics and chemistry. The system is now in use and is forecasting air quality in the cities where the model has been deployed. After forecasting (it usually takes the system a day to make a 72-hour forecast), OPANA transmits this information through the latest communication systems (GPRS, WAP…) to street-level information panels or to the Internet.

The system outputs an air quality indicator based on five urban pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10), ozone (O3) and carbon monoxide (CO). Air quality in the area under observation is defined by the worst of the partial indicators of each pollutant, which is known as the global air quality indicator. The indicator values range from 0 to >150, and the higher the indicator is the worse the air quality is. The indicator value 0 is equivalent to a zero concentration of pollutant, whereas the value 100 represents the pre-established limit as of which the population should be warned of the potential risks.

A region’s air quality is influenced by the geographical distribution of emission sources, the quantity of emitted pollutants and the physical and chemical processes taking place in the atmosphere. The climatology and terrain influence the dispersion and transportation processes.

The forecasting system developed by the GMSMA takes into account all these variables. The system comprises an emissions model, a meteorological model, a transportation model, a photochemical model and a deposition model.

Measuring stations

Air quality is measured directly at stations located in different parts of the cities, but this information is confined to the space around the station. After calibration with the measuring stations, the models can produce maps and information about the whole region.

The emissions model (MM5-CMAQ-EMIMO) used by the GMSMA, which is OPANA’s mainstay, covers anthropogenic emissions from traffic, industry, households and the services sector with a spatial resolution of 1 km and a time resolution of 1 hour, respectively. It also accounts for biogenic emissions (primarily isoprenes and monoterpenes) from trees and vegetation.

The goal of the forecasting system is to provide users and environmental authorities with 24- to 72-hour air quality forecasts that can be drawn on to then take steps, in line with specially designed models, to reduce emissions and comply with the limits set out in European Air Quality Directives.

This is a complex process, as, in the case of ozone for example, a reduction in NOx emissions could lead to a significant increase in ozone levels in some parts of the city and its surroundings on the next day.

Urban applications

Originally applied in the cities of Madrid, Leicester and Bilbao, it has now been deployed in other cities, like Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, as well as in Asturias and Andalusia.

A data collection algorithm gathers information for the forecasts from ground emission stations (first 24 hours). This algorithm automates the processing of the observed information for use in the forecasts and has led to a statistically significant improvement in the results.

OPANA is a real-time air quality forecasting tool. OPANA offers mesoscale domains, is easy to configure and is flexible enough to accept additional information to improve the forecasting system. However, the tool can only be operated by experts, and, in almost all applications, the service is provided over the Internet. The GMSMA is responsible for routine system operation.

Environmental impact studies and industrial forecasts

Apart from air quality forecasting, the model also has the potential to conduct environmental impact studies. OPANA has been used to run environmental impact studies on the Txingudi and San Sebastián incinerators, as well as power stations for Unión Fenosa, Endesa, Cepsa, EHL, Electrabel and others. The system is also capable of forecasting the impact of industrial plants, like the ACECA power station and Portland Valderrivas cement works, on air quality.

Eduardo Martínez | alfa
Further information:
http://artico.lma.fi.upm.es/
http://www.fi.upm.es/?pagina=558

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>