Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

GEMS Report Summary

Project ID: 516099
Funded under: FP6-AEROSPACE
Country: United Kingdom

Predicting air quality: Improvements through advanced methods

GEMS built and demonstrated the operation of comprehensive integrated systems for monitoring the global distributions of atmospheric constituents important for climate, and for monitoring and forecasting constituents affecting air quality, with a focus on Europe. It successfully completed its principal tasks of:

- developing a global analysis and forecasting system for greenhouse gases, reactive gases and aerosols, based on assimilating data on atmospheric composition and weather;
- organising cooperative operation of regional air-quality forecasting systems for Europe;
- demonstrating the capability of the systems by running them routinely in near-real-time;
- providing retrospective global analyses for the period 2003–2007 and regional studies for 2003;
- setting up a comprehensive web-based system for the graphical display of results and for user access to the underlying data;
- validating the products of the global and regional systems, including assessment of their value for protection of human health;
- estimating the surface sources and sinks of carbon dioxide and methane.

The principal conclusion of the project is that there is no conclusion: the global and regional GEMS analysis and forecasting systems were sufficiently robust and delivered products of sufficient quality for the operation of the near-real-time systems to be continued without interruption in the successor project MACC. MACC is bringing the implementation of these systems to a state ready for designation and support as fully operational from late 2011. It has already extended the GEMS reanalysis into 2009, and will soon begin a new reanalysis for the period 2003-2010. Services will be broadened and strengthened by new work such as extraction of information on lower-tropospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations from GOSAT, flux-inversion and climate-forcing calculations for aerosols, systematic validation and further integration of the global chemical modelling for reactive gases, and establishment of data assimilation, retrospective analyses and policy-support tools for regional air-quality assessment and response. MACC also broadens by including a number of products lines from Promote and development of a service line for provision of data in support of solar power generation. It strengthens considerably the interface to users based on its heritage from Promote, and should be strengthened further through close collaboration with user-focused downstream-service projects.

As could be expected for such a ground-breaking project, the diagnosis carried out in the project indicates much scope for improvement, including full incorporation of stratospheric aerosol and more complete interaction between the thematic elements, two areas where progress in GEMS was slower than anticipated when the original work plan for the project was drawn up. The scientific as well as technical and organisational achievements of the project should nevertheless not be underestimated, and lessons learnt have been reflected in the planning and execution of MACC and in the assessment of the longer-term outlook and requirements for observational data.

GEMS was a major step towards the establishment of the operational core GMES atmosphere service. Its main systems began delivering pre-operational products in 2008, in fulfilment of the original action plan for GMES. Its legacy is providing the scientific and technical basis for implementing a fully operational GMES service within two years.

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Adrian SIMMONS
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Record Number: 45286 / Last updated on: 2010-08-30
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Collaboration sought: Further research or development support
Stage of development: Scientific and/or technical knowledge (basic research)