"This pioneering service will provide people with crucial information about peak periods of air pollution localised for their part of London, so they can take action. It could literally save lives."
AirTEXT is a free service aimed at those who have been diagnosed with asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease or angina as well as for those who live or work in London. The service has operated in the Borough of Croydon, the largest borough by population, since July 2005 and has received a positive response with 80 percent of users saying it has helped them manage their symptoms better and reduce their exposure to air pollution.
Subscribers can choose whether they want airTEXT alerts delivered through SMS text messages, voicemail or e-mail and whether they want to receive the alerts the morning of days when air pollution is likely to be higher than normal or the evening before. Forecasts are generated for each London borough.
Messages will indicate moderate, high or very high levels of pollution are expected, what effects are likely to be noticed, such as wheezing, difficulty in breathing or chest pains, and what should be done to minimise the effects, such as avoiding long periods outdoors, avoiding strenuous outdoor activity and increasing the dose of reliever medication as directed by a physician.
The Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) developed airTEXT using information from ESA’s PROMOTE project, which aims to improve air-quality forecasting using satellite technology. In addition, PROMOTE aims to construct and deliver a sustainable and reliable operational service to support informed decisions on the atmospheric policy issues of stratospheric ozone depletion, surface ultraviolet (UV) exposure, air quality and climate change.
PROMOTE, PROtocol MOniToring for the GMES Service Element on Atmospheric Composition, is itself part of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), a joint initiative between ESA and the European Commission to combine all available space- and ground-based information sources to develop an independent European environmental monitoring capacity from planetary to local scales.
The airTEXT service works by combining satellite data from ESA’s Envisat on regional air quality forecasts provided by PROMOTE with information on local road traffic patterns and monitoring stations around the city. Regional air quality information is important because not all the pollution affecting a city actually originates there. Depending on the weather, studies show that up to half the air pollution found in some European cities might have come from elsewhere in the continent.
"Previously air pollution forecasts have focused on very large geographical areas and the methods for communicating the information have been poor," CERC atmospheric scientist Dr Iarla Kilbane-Dawe said. "AirTEXT represents a revolution in air-pollution forecasting with localised information being sent directly to the individual."
Mariangela D'Acunto | alfa
Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan
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Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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