Satellite Air Quality Modelling

It is estimated that ambient outdoor air pollution leads to 4.2m premature deaths each year, with traffic being one of the most important and contributing sources. An additional 3.8m deaths are as a result of household exposure to smoke from dirty cook stoves and fuels and is the fourth largest risk factor for deaths worldwide. It is estimated that 91% of the world's population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits.

 

Background

Our service is formed on the basis of a collaboration between TCarta and King’s College London, using high resolution satellite data and air pollution modelling, to create some of the most detailed air pollution maps ever produced for cities around the globe. Our web service allows users instant access to the air pollution data, benefiting customers in numerous ways and in the following sectors:

Government – air quality is recognized as a major global health concern gaining national and international media coverage on a regular basis, and increasing knowledge is vital to informed policy decision making;

Private sector companies – there is increasing pressure on corporate social responsibility and employee well-being. Easy access to air quality information is important for international operations;

Pharmaceuticals – there is a need for understanding trends in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases so that drugs can be marketed efficiently into affected areas. Pre-planning for medical sales is very lucrative to the pharmaceutical market;

Vehicle Manufacturers – require detailed information on current traffic pollution values and modelled information of positive social and health impact of introduction of new vehicle technology and electric vehicles;

Engineering Consultants – require air quality data for major infrastructure developments and traffic planning within urban areas;

SMART Cities – traffic counts/speeds/emissions and air pollution maps of the city will play an important part of the urban informatics for SMART cities, improving the efficiency of environmental services and planning.

Service / System Concept

Our service allows users to access traffic counts, traffic emissions and air pollution predictions for their city, through a web portal and mobile application, with both one-off purchasing, and subscription payment models available.

Our service offers on-demand world-wide air quality modelling information at an industry leading level of detail (20 meter resolution). Spatial modelling of this kind are only possible through detailed knowledge of emissions sources, with vehicles being one of the most important. The road emissions are added to all other emissions sources both anthropogenic (industry, power generation, commercial and domestic fuel combustion, other mobile machinery etc.) and biogenic to create the final air pollution maps and datasets.

Service / System Concept

Modelled pollutants and Benefits

All data is offered in a time series e.g. Annual average, hourly, 24-48 hours (predictive and historic rather than snapshot). Forecasts are offered through our API. Pollutants are also offered at a range of grid spacing from 20m to 50km.

Primary Pollutant Health Impact Output Benefit
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Affects the transport of oxygen around the body by the blood. Breathing in low levels can result in headaches, nausea, tiredness and difficulty in thinking clearly. Provides a host of products related to traffic, air quality, health and human exposure in the form of reports and subscription data services. These outputs will raise awareness to air pollution and reduce human health impacts and will be used to inform policy decisions and model future ‘what if’ scenarios.
Nitrogen Oxide (NO2) The most common outcomes are respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and cough. Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lung and reduces immunity to lung infections such as bronchitis
Ozone (O2) High levels of ozone can irritate and inflame the lungs. It can also irritate the eyes, nose and throat, which can lead to cough and chest discomfort. Inflammation and narrowing of the airways leads to increased sensitivity to cold air and exercise
Particulate Matter (PM2.5) The health effects of particle air pollution have been widely studied, and include premature death and the worsening of heart and lung disease, often increasing admissions to hospital.
Particulate Matter (PM10) Particles smaller than about 10 micrometers, referred to as PM10 and particles smaller that 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), can settle in the airway and deep in the lungs and cause health problems.
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) Short-term exposure to high levels of sulphur dioxide may cause coughing, tightening of the chest and narrowing of the airways. People with asthma are more sensitive to sulphur dioxide than healthy individuals.

Product Range

Our air pollution models can be created at several resolutions, depending upon your project size, budget and final application. By varying the model grid used in production a different grid size can be output:

Output Scale
Geospatial grid Street, postcode
Geospatial grid City
Geospatial grid Country
Geospatial grid Continental

Data is available in a range of formats, typical formats listed below, however we would be happy to discuss your project requirement if something more specific is required:

File Type, Delivery method Format
Google Earth KMZ/KML
Google Earth SHP, DXF, DWG
Reporting CSV, XLS, .DOC, PDF
Analysis Index Raster .TIFF
Database GDB
Web URL, App WFS, WMS, WWW, API
Greater London

Example Index Grid Raster TIFF showing annual mean NOx concentrations – Greater London

 
CMAQ-Urban 20m resolution – UK

Example NO2 concentrations, CMAQ-Urban 20m resolution – UK

 
Greater London

Example Index Grid Raster TIFF showing annual mean NO2 forecast – Greater London

 

Quality Control & Quality Assurance

As part of the development of the air quality model, quality control and quality assurance has been of critical importance to ensure consistency in data outputs. All modelled data is rigorously checked by our team of geospatial and air pollution experts to ensure that specific data specifications are delivered.