NUI Galway's Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS ) at the Ryan Institute has launched an air pollution forecast service that will help advise the public of periods of imminent outdoor pollution levels likely to exacerbate 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 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."