ERCIM News No.34 - July 1998

Air Quality Modelling for the Madrid Region

by Roberto San José

The Environmental Software and Modelling Group of the Computer Science School of the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM) is conducting reseach in the field of Air Quality Modelling. The main modelling research activity is focused on the development of prognostic air quality models which include different modules. The final purpose is to develop a research code which is able to forecast the three dimensional air concentrations over urban and regional environments in short range, one to seven days.

The integrated air quality modelling system (ANA) will include high quality land use classification, detailed anthropogenic and biogenic emission over the test domain, high resolution altitude values, meteorological external information for boundary conditions, initial meteorological soundings, initial surface pollution information, use of updated meteorological and pollution information in on-line mode.

To date, the group has developed an operational version of the ANA model which is called EMMA. This work is carried out in the frame of the EMMA project supported by the European Union Telematics Applications Programme.

The EMMA model includes the EMMA-R part which forecasts the primary and secondary pollutants on the region where the urban area is included and the EMMA-U part which includes a high spatial and temporal resolution model for the urban area. Both models are running simultaneously. The EMMA-U model requires the information from the EMMA-R. This version of EMMA is the so-called nested EMMA model. A test version of the EMMA model is used by the Madrid Community and Madrid City Council since 1997.

The group is also involved in different DGXII projects of the European Union which include complex and extensive field campaigns. These campaigns have been carried out in the Madrid Community and they focused on the determination of the SO2, NOX, NH3 and O3 deposition fluxes. The NH3 Amanda gradient system allows the determination of bi-directional net emission/deposition fluxes. The O3 fast ozone sonde and the sonic anemometer allows to measure directly the eddy correlation fluxes. The rest of the instrumentation applies the indirect gradient method for measuring the net deposition fluxes.

Nowadays projects are focused on the embedding of satellite data, surface meteorological information, meteorological soundings and regional and metropolitan air monitoring networks on the 'spin-off' period of the prognostic air quality models such as ANA or EMMA. The importance of the data assimilation module has been clearly stated in many different scientific contributions in the past. The group is intensively working on this important part in order to improve significantly the predictions.

The group is particularly interested in the operational versions of the air quality models (ANA, EMMA, etc.) by using the information provided by those instruments (satellites, sounding, pollution networks, etc.). The ACS (Analysis Correction Scheme from the U.K. Meteorological office) scheme is on the way to be incorporated to the model system. In addition, the MM5 model (PSU/NCAR) is also in use in the laboratory. The advantage of using a combined version of MM5/ANA-EMMA are clear since the period that the model should be run in order to produce 24-48 hour forecasts are between 120-168 hours.

The needs of having meteorological information from areas on about 2000 km away from the domain where the air quality model is run are completely cover by using this combined version since ANA is not applicable over domain greater than 400-500 km. This version should be operative at the end of this year. In addition, the laboratory is working with the Urban Airshed Model (UAM) from EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, USA) which is intended to be linked to the MM5 to carry our simulations over Europe and to produce proper boundary conditions for ANA model.

Also, the Laboratory has developed a Lagrangian Particle Model (LAGMO) which should be used to predict the particulate matter over urban and regional domains and should be incorporated to the ANA system in the near future. Finally, the laboratory is incorporating to ANA air quality system a Gaussian model based on the ISCT3 (EPA, USA). The user - through the tcl/tk visualization system - will be able to select the type of simulation he prefers and for specific domains, it would be possible to run several thousands of gaussian models which will produce detailed maps over the sub-grid scale (Eulerian approach) for traffic or industrial applications. Also, the user would be able to select the LAGMO model for selected sub-grids.

The possibility of having a detailed prediction over very fine areas (by using the LAGMO and GAUSSMO models for this specific areas) is an important advance of this type of models. Finally, the WWW capabilities are being integrated into the ANA air quality system to use nowadays meteorological on-line data on quasi-real-time processes.

Please contact:

Roberto San José - Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Tel: +34 91 336 7465
E-mail: roberto@fi.upm.es

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