NUI Galway Launches an Hour-by-Hour Air Pollution Forecast Service

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station, Cárna, Co. Galway
Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station, Cárna, Co. Galway

The  Centre for Climate Change & Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS) pilot forecasting service will provide an air pollution prediction for the following 2-3 days for Ireland and the greater European area

NUI Galway's Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS) at the Ryan Institute has launched an air pollution forecast service will help advise the public of periods of imminent outdoor pollution levels likely to exasperate health problems, in particular, those associated with heart and lung conditions. The advanced service demonstrates the new air quality forecasting capacity that has been developed in NUI Galway.

The forecasts can also provide a warning system and planning aid for potential large-scale air pollution events such as that associated with the 2003 heat-wave which led to high numbers of air pollution-related deaths across Europe. The forecasts can be accessed via http://www.macehead.org/ under 'Air Quality Forecasts' menu bar.

NUI Galway’s development of advanced air quality forecasting capacity is has been facilitated through meteorological support from Met Éireann and has been produced via the supercomputing services by the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC). The main pollutants forecast are Ozone (O3), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), and Particulate Matter (PM).

Professor Colin Dowd said "Ireland’s location on the western boundary of Europe means that it generally experiences better air quality than other European counties and pollutant levels are typically below the level prescribed by the EU. However, even in Ireland, meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, which are more conservative than the current EU regulatory limits, remains a challenge. Given the lower WHO limits, the need for forecasts informing potential exposure levels and risks is pressing"

The forecast model is continually under development to improve the predictions for the Irish environment; to implement improved and higher-resolution emissions inventories as they become available; and to implement the most up-to-date pollution evolution modules.  In addition, the model is also being used and further refined to predict volcanic ash cloud dispersion and to advise the aviation industry and to assess the effects of air pollution on climate change.  

This work was predominantly funded by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Research Programme with contributions from synergetic programmes funded by the European Space Agency, Science Foundation Ireland and the Higher Education Authority’ s  Programme for Research in Third Level Institutes.

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Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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