Pollutions Sans Frontieres

Varese, Italy-based @MetClim has a series of fascinating forecasting GIFs of predicted pollution patterns over several days showing how pollution is carried all around Europe.

Pollutions Sans Frontieres

MetClim has a series of fascinating forecasting GIFs (multiple-frame images) showing predicted pollution patterns for hourly intervals over several days. The company is based out of Varese in Italy, but their forecast models cover the whole of Europe and north Africa. Of particular interest to me are the surface air pollution models which show how pollution is both carried and dissipated by wind and air movements. Pollution is carried substantial distances around Europe with zero regard for national borders.

For example, yesterday (Saturday 23 Feb 2019) in Eastbourne we appear to have experienced a 7 hour period of very high PM2.5 and PM10 pollution which was carried up from France, Paris in particular.

The MetClim air quality forecast page includes a model for PM10, sadly no PM2.5 yet. I am particularly intrigued by the way PM10 is generated in the big cities, how it is blown in a steady column across the map, and then how it feeds into a larger block of air with alower concentration of PM10, which in turn is blown around/away. I assume, for now, that PM2.5 will move in the same directions as indicated on the PM10 charts

Although my interest is in particulate matter I think my favourite chart is the NO2 one. See how the levels bloom over big cities during the day and then get blown around until levels decline overnight only to start up again the next morning. The thing that strikes me at the moment is the way that although pollution levels are at their peak in the big cities those cities pollute vast areas across the entire continent at significant levels.

Eastbourne is 260km (160 miles) from Paris, but our pollution levels on Friday night, Saturday morning were effectively off the chart "Very high" for both PM10 and PM2.5 because the wind carried the pollution to us. For comparison Friday night into Saturday morning in Eastbourne was worse than inner-city Jakarta, one of the most air-polluted cities on Earth right now.

It would be great to see the Met Office and DEFRA producing larger area forecast maps like this. I wonder how easily Luftdaten could produce time-series charts of actual measurements from all the data they gather from citizen scientists? Increased insight into the source and impact of these pollution types should impact behaviour and policy.