New model closely monitors air quality in China

The industrialisation of China, an economic giant in the making, casts shadows on the local air quality. Within the framework of the MarcoPolo programme, VITO developed a model to monitor air quality daily for the Chinese government as part of an international consortium.

The purpose of the MarcoPolo programme is to construct a database with measurements of air quality, which can be used to create predictive air quality models. The data are gathered by satellites that register the emission of greenhouse gases (both of human origin and biological origin) and pollutants. Near the end of 2014, the consortium partners presented the first applications of MarcoPolo. Henceforth, it is possible to, for instance, make air predictions every day or every two days for all of China. Based on this information, local policy-makers can announce a smog alarm and take measures, such as introducing a speed limit for drivers.

VITO's role

VITO has a lot of expertise when it comes to developing models that chart air quality. To do so, it builds on the Air Emission Inventory Support System it developed in-house. That system helps governments and other stakeholders to record emissions and chart air quality in detail.

MarcoPolo: facts & figures
  • Partner project between 15 international knowledge and research institutes in eight countries
It is possible to make air predictions every day or every two days for all of China. Based on this information, local policy-makers can announce a smog alarm and take measures, such as introducing a speed limit for drivers.