NILU - The Norwegian Institute for Air Research

AirQuis: A basis for air pollution forecasting


Courtesy of Courtesy of NILU - The Norwegian Institute for Air Research

The GIS based air quality planning system, AirQUIS, represent a perfect platform for developing numerical air quality forecasting.

The Air Pollution Surveillance and Information System, AirQUIS, has been developed on a Geographical Information System (GIS) platform. The main objective has been to enable direct data and information transfer and obtain a remote quality control of the data collection. The system combine monitoring, data presentation and modelling in one package, which enable the user not only to present and evaluate the present situation, but also to undertake environmental planning for a sustainable future. The GIS platform, on which the system is operated, provides easy access to the data and gives a perfect and easily understandable data presentation tool.

The models

A major part of the AirQUIS system is the dispersion models for emission inventories, concentration and exposure estimates. The models covers air pollution on all scales; traffic in street canyons and along roads, industrial emissions and gridded pollution from household etc. within the urban areas and on a regional scale.

The NILU developed source oriented numerical dispersion model EPISODE calculates spatial distribution of hourly concentration of selected indicators, such as SO2, NO2 and suspended particles. The NILU models ROADAIR and CONTI-LENK are used to estimate sub grid concentrations close to roads within the square grid. A puff-trajectory part of the model is used to calculate the influence of point sources.

AirQuis: A basis for air pollution forecasting

To obtain a good description of the wind field in a complex terrain, NILU has included a terrain influenced wind field model. This model is fast and can on hourly basis perform inhomogeneous wind fields as input to the dispersion models for emissions to the atmosphere.

Numerical air quality and episode forecast

Numerical forecast models have been developed to combine estimated wind and turbulence with numerical dispersion models to forecast air quality into the next 24 or 48 hours. At NILU the forecasted wind fields have been used as input to the AirQUIS air pollution dispersion modelling system to estimate concentration distributions for the next 24 and 48 hours.

An improved modelling system for air pollution forecasting have been developed and tested for the 5 cities participating in the “Better City” programme. The new models involve a combination of numerical forecast models and numerical air pollution dispersion models. The development has been a co-operation between NILU and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (DNMI).

Weather forecasts

The numerical weather forecast model HIRLAM50 with 50-km resolution has been used to estimate and forecast the weather conditions such as wind and turbulence for the next 24 hours. The results from the HIRLAM model is then used as input to the MM5 model to produce a more detailed wind field. The input to the AirQuis dispersion models is given in a 1 km grid. The procedure requires large computer capacities and is thus fairly cost consuming for routine and daily operations

Typical for most of the urban areas of Norway are the topograph-ically complex surroundings with rather complicated wind patterns and local/mesoscale circulations. This lead to the necessity of enabling weather forecast modelling on a very fine scale compared to the normal synoptic scale weather prediction models. For the Norwegian cities Oslo and Bergen, which were the first cities to test the models, the grid size selected was 1 km. The weather prediction models are estimating three-dimensional wind and turbulence fields which are then fed automatically into the NILU “Episode” air pollution dispersion model.

AirQuis: A basis for air pollution forecasting

Information to the public

Information of air quality in urban areas has been issued to the public on a daily basis described in terms of “very good”, “good”, “poor” etc. Many European cities already provide this type of information.

The EU-project EN 4002 IRENIE has been coordinated by NILU. The project wants to provide European-wide information services for the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its customers such as the European Commission (EC), national environmental protection authorities and for the public, and to demonstrate and evaluate the telematic options for increasing the efficiency of flows of data and information at the local, national and international level.

NILU also participates in the European research project APNEE. The main objective of this project is to establish user-friendly information services for the citizens and communities to improve the quality of life in Europe. Modern information systems as AirQUIS will be the basis for enabling citizens to easier access and exchange of information about air pollution in urban regions. Information will be distributed by mobile telecommunication system such as SMS, WAP and Voice. It is also a real-time information, early warning and forecasting system for of air pollution across borders.

AirQuis: A basis for air pollution forecasting

The AirQUIS system, which is installed in Fredrikstad, serve as a basis for the Internet application. AirQUIS is a management and decision support system for air and water quality management. The system can be used as a management tool for planners, an information tool for the public and an expert system for specialists. AirQUIS provides a geographic information system (GIS) interface for the integration and display of spatial data, including air and water quality and quantity monitoring and results from modeling.

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