Google Play icon

Sophisticated computer algorithms mimicking the law of physics are used to forecast global air pollution levels

Share
Posted November 20, 2013

Air quality is not a local problem. Like clouds moving through the sky, pollution is transported from one location to another by wind patterns in the atmosphere. With each breath we inhale vital oxygen, but also small amounts of potentially harmful gases and small particles. These components directly affect our health, and can be carcinogenic. Observations, both from satellite and from the ground, can provide a snapshot of the air quality. The trouble is that they have no real predictive capability. Now, thanks to a EU-funded project called MAC-II, it is now possible produce a forecast, analogous to meteorological forecast, but for air pollution.

To achieve this goal, scientists from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), based in Reading, UK, have partnered with various meteorological and research centres across Europe. Their collaboration led to the development of the largest global air quality forecasting model, which delivers better information than the individual ones.

What makes it truly unique is that it combines global and local information. Indeed, by combining state-of-the-art computer models of the atmosphere, such as used for our daily weather forecasts, with satellite and in-situ observations, they are now providing daily forecasts of the composition of the air around the globe with a special focus on Europe. “The forecast for yesterday is then compared with the observations for today to produce the forecast for tomorrow,” explains Angela Benedetti, senior scientists at ECMWF.

This combination of millions of daily observations and the predictive power of computer models is the real strength of the forecast service, referred to as the Copernicus Atmosphere Services.

Read more at: Phys.org

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
84,767 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. Real Artificial Gravity for SpaceX Starship (September 17, 2019)
  2. Top NASA Manager Says the 2024 Moon Landing by Astronauts might not Happen (September 19, 2019)
  3. How social media altered the good parenting ideal (September 4, 2019)
  4. What's the difference between offensive and defensive hand grenades? (September 26, 2019)
  5. Just How Feasible is a Warp Drive? (September 25, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email