Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Street-level London air pollution warnings coming via mobile phones

20.06.2005


The air pollution in Central London and the London borough of Croydon is being forecast daily as part of a pioneering ESA-backed project.

Around a thousand asthma sufferers and other vulnerable individuals in Croydon should soon receive text message warnings to their mobile phones before elevated air pollution days, with additional patients in other London boroughs receiving the service later on.

The YourAir service predicts levels of the pollutants nitrogen dioxide, ozone and airborne particles – exposure to which can harm people with asthma, lung and heart problems, and in the very highest concentrations can harm otherwise healthy people.



The forecasts include predictions of overall effects on health on an index from one to ten. Unlike previous systems, YourAir resolves air pollution down to the scale of individual streets – highest levels are often found along routes with heavy traffic or other pollution sources, so information on street-by-street changes in pollution help vulnerable people make informed choices about their travel routes.

The prototype service covers Central London and Croydon in South London. Croydon is one of the largest boroughs by area and the largest by population, with 330 000 residents.

YourAir is being developed by Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) as a demonstration service of ESA’s PROMOTE project, intended to deliver atmospheric information to support informed decision making in this field and improve quality of life.

PROMOTE is itself part of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), a joint initiative between ESA and the European Union to integrate all available space- and ground-based information sources to develop an independent European environmental monitoring capacity from planetary to local scales.

"The YourAir service works by combining data from the various sources available," said Iarla Kilbane-Dawe of CERC. "It combines regional air quality forecasts provided by PROMOTE with information on local road traffic patterns.

"We also employ information from monitoring stations around the city. Because their coverage is limited they don’t help with generating forecasts, but serve as a key way of validating our results, which so far have been around 90% accurate. For the next stage of the project we aim to improve the accuracy further by integrating other data sources, especially satellite observations and more data on traffic patterns."

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 – the Ruhr in Germany for instance, or as far away as Italy’s Po Valley.

"With air pollution arising, its distribution drops off steeply away from major roads or other sources because it mixes vertically as well as horizontally," Kilbane-Dawe explained. "On most days the air rises, taking the pollution with it – as high as 800 metres in the winter, or two kilometres in the summer. So within an hour or so of rush hour the concentrated pollution can waft away."

Some of the highest pollution levels occur when the meteorological situation means local pollution remains trapped close to the ground, combined with pollution plumes from elsewhere.

In the case of London this happens most often during the winter – the animation above shows citywide pollution patterns during the 24 hours of 15 November 2000, when such a high pollution event took place.

"This animation was created by us for the Building Exploratory, an interactive exhibition in the London borough of Hackney," Kilbane-Dawe added. "The traffic data used to generate this animation isn’t yet available in real time - the animation includes detailed data from all 31 London boroughs - but it illustrates well the way pollution can concentrate near major roads and follows traffic patterns, and it demonstrates what we expect will become a routine type of urban air quality forecast within a few years."

A linked project called airTEXT involves sending a text message to the mobile phones of a thousand vulnerable individuals during the evening before days when air pollution may be moderate or high. The message will also advise on steps they can take to minimise their pollution exposure and manage their symptoms.

Also backed by PROMOTE, AirTEXT is a partnership between CERC, Croydon Council, the Croydon Primary Care Trust and the South West London Health Protection Unit.

Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM2AS1DU8E_environment_0.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Research offers clues for improved influenza vaccine design
09.04.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Injecting gene cocktail into mouse pancreas leads to humanlike tumors
06.04.2018 | University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>