Keywords: ozone forecast, photochemical smog, short-term predictions
SMOGSTOP: A new way of forecasting ozone concentrations at ground level
Every summer, ground-level ozone concentrations rise in Belgium and cause episodes of photochemical summer smog. This phenomenon is the cause of well-recognised public health distress, especially for people suffering from respiratory diseases. In order to warn groups of sensitive people of forthcoming smog episodes, VITO (the Flemish Institute for Technological Research) and VMM (the Flemish Environmental Agency) have joined forces to create an ozone pollution forecasting tool called SMOGSTOP (Statistical Model Of Ground-level Short Term Ozone Pollution). SMOGSTOP is used by Belgian government agencies to issue ozone reports and warnings in the media (TV, radio, internet, etc). In this paper, an overview of the process of ozone formation in Belgium is given, followed by the definition of the explanatory variables which will be used in the approach. Then the methodology behind the approach is reported and finally the results of the forecasting efforts in the period from 1 May to 31 August 1995 are presented. The 1995 summer was selected because of a relatively large number of ozone days (29) compared to other summers in Belgium.