Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

EU doing its share to ensure a successful Olympics

In the run up to the Olympics, China's authorities now have the resources to monitor air pollution and overall help in the battle to keep it under control; all thanks to the efforts of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Working on behalf of the ESA, the Cambridge Environmental...
EU doing its share to ensure a successful Olympics
In the run up to the Olympics, China's authorities now have the resources to monitor air pollution and overall help in the battle to keep it under control; all thanks to the efforts of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Working on behalf of the ESA, the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) installed a High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB). The system, now operational, allows authorities to finally monitor the levels of pollution in Beijing and ensure that measures to improve air quality in the city are being followed.

'We are delighted to have installed the system in Beijing and believe the detailed air quality forecast it provides will prove a valuable tool in predicting and understanding Beijing's Air quality,' David Carruthers from CERC said.

Air quality is a serious concern for both the hosts and visitors as poor quality could hamper athletes' performance, especially of those competing in outdoors endurance events such as cycling and marathons.

The main source of air pollution in Beijing is emissions from automobiles. In order to reduce emissions from this source, authorities announced certain restrictions on car use, such as banning cars with high emissions and allowing privately owned cars to be driven on alternate days. The impact of these regulations will hopefully lead to a decrease of 50% of Beijing's 3.5 million vehicles on the roads.

The High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System is one way that authorities can check to see if these regulations are being implemented and whether they are having the desired impact.

'The system is highly flexible and can be adjusted rapidly, for example, to take account of the special emission reduction actions being implemented since July and until after the Games,' explained Mr Carruthers.

The Vice Director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, Li Kunsheng, went on the record to say that he welcomed the installation of the new system. He also added that he looked forward to it becoming an important tool for forecasting air quality in Beijing taking account of the effects of air pollution management measures including those being implemented for the Olympic Games.

The system works by combining information from weather forecasts, regional air quality forecasts and detailed local pollution source data and then inputting this raw data into a complex mathematical model. From this model, air quality forecasts are able to be made twice a day at 7am and 7pm. These forecasts are then made available on the Beijing Air Quality website. For those who want to be updated no matter where they are, they can also subscribe to email alerts and selected individuals will also be able to receive text message bulletins.

Forecasts are made for three days ahead. Users can choose to view maps of different pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, or ozone, separately or to view the total health index with all pollutants combined.

'The final forecasts utilise a combination of air quality measurements, surface data and modelling. Regional modelling using Chimere is provided by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and detailed local modelling is done by CERC's model, ADMS-Urban,' Mr Carruthers added.

These forecasts are made available thanks to DRAGON 2 programme. DRAGON is a joint undertaking between ESA and the National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC), an organisation of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China. Its aim is to encourage increased exploitation of ESA and Chinese Earth Observation (EO) satellite data within China.

Source: ESA, Beijing Air Quality

Related information

Countries

  • China
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top