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25 Apr 2022Hearing air pollution: sound art from WM-Air

Air pollution concentration data for the West Midlands (UK), modelled with CERC's ADMS-Urban model, have had new interpretations created by sound artist Robert Jarvis which are now available to experience online. Listeners can watch the variation of air pollution with synchronised audio based on the spatially and temporally varying concentration levels representing either an average daily cycle or an example route across the area. The art aims to stimulate public curiosity about air quality, to improve understanding of how to manage personal exposure to air pollution and to inspire reductions in emissions.

The underlying modelled concentrations come from baseline ADMS-Urban modelling carried out for the WM-Air project, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and led by the University of Birmingham. CERC were involved in emissions processing using the Emissions Inventory Toolkit (EMIT) and assisted with model evaluation, as published and presented at the CERC User Group Meeting in 2021. WM-Air regional modelling of emissions scenarios for particulate concentrations using the CMAQ model has also recently been published.


12 Apr 2022CERC launches MAQS-Health coupled air quality modelling system

This ambitious SPF Clean Air project, led by CERC, has developed a new world-leading coupled air quality modelling system spanning national to urban street scales and accounting for physical and chemical processes at all relevant scales: from thousands of kilometres to metres, and from seconds to days or weeks.

We launched the system on 24th March at an online workshop with 50 stakeholders from organisations including Defra, Environment Agency, Met Office, UKHSA, SEPA, Natural Resources Wales, and 13 universities and research organisations. The Universities of Edinburgh, Birmingham and Lancaster, the Met Office, and CERC presented case studies of the system application. We also launched interactive maps of example system output at 20m resolution across the UK (see the figure).

The system predictions are available at a wide range of spatial and temporal resolutions enabling personal exposure and health impact modelling using a range of metrics at national, city, neighbourhood and local scales. Researchers using the system are able to investigate health inequalities, and also assess a wide range of national and local policy measures such as Clean Air Zones and reduced ammonia emissions from farming.

The MAQS-Health system is available for research projects. If you are interested in using the system please contact CERC and we will be delighted to discuss your research with you.


31 Mar 2022Mapping solid fuel use for potential extension of smoke control area in York

CERC Consultants have been working with City of York Council, UK, who are considering additional measures for smoke control actions, including a potential extension of the city's Smoke Control Area (SCA).

To aid the Council's decision-making, we generated GIS datasets to provide insights into solid fuel use across York. Fuel use data from Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Council data for wood burner installations were mapped using address locations from the Local Land and Property Gazetteer.

Key insights from the mapping include:

  • Solid fuel as a heating source is more common outside the SCA
  • Outside the SCA, properties using solid fuel as the main fuel are, on average, older and larger, compared to those inside the SCA
  • The data show a link between high levels of solid and liquid main fuels, and lack of access to the mains gas network
  • Properties using liquid fuel as the main fuel and solid fuel for secondary heating are predominately outside the SCA, as shown in the figure. The level of solid fuel use in such properties may be sensitive to liquid fuel prices.

Based on this work, City of York Council are considering changes to the SCA boundary, subject to further consultation.

28 Feb 2022ADMS-Urban, ADMS-Roads & ADMS-Airport 5.0.1 released

CERC are pleased to announce that version 5.0.1 of ADMS-Urban, ADMS-Roads and ADMS-Airport is now available for download from the user area.

ADMS-Roads is designed primarily for networks of roads that may be in combination with industrial sites, for instance small towns or rural road networks. ADMS-Urban can model large urban areas providing output from street-scale to urban-scale. ADMS-Airport has the features of ADMS-Urban, and can also incorporate all relevant emission sources at airports by using algorithms designed specifically to model dispersion from aircraft engines.

Some of the new features in version 5.0.1 include

  • Modelling flyovers: this version includes a major new option for modelling flyovers, i.e. roads elevated above local ground level, using a more advanced approach than the one used for standard elevated road sources.
  • EFT 11.0: the latest UK EFT emission dataset has been added for the calculation of road traffic emissions.
  • Windows 11: The new release has been tested and is supported on the latest Windows operating system

All the updates are described in detail in the What's New? guide.

For further information on this release or any CERC products please email us.


3 Feb 2022Defra 2021 Air Quality Model Intercomparison Exercise

CERC are undertaking a project commissioned by Defra in partnership with the Met Office, the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London and Ricardo in relation to an intercomparison study between models that have the potential to be used for Defra's compliance reporting commitments. Models involved in the intercomparison exercise are: the air quality model included in the Met Office's Unified Model (AQUM), UKCEH's application of the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme EMEP MSC-W model, Imperial College's CMAQ-Urban model, in addition to Ricardo's Pollution Climate Mapping model, which is currently used for reporting in relation to the UK's EU Directive (2008/50/EC) requirements.

All models have been configured to calculate pollutant concentrations over the whole of the UK, for 2018, at a sufficiently high resolution to allow quantification of air quality at background and, where possible, roadside locations. CERC's role has been to undertake the model evaluation, and over the last year, the team has been working closely with all modelling teams to facilitate the provision of the data required for the study.

CERC have assessed the formulations of the meteorological, chemistry and pollutant dispersion components of the modelling systems, including quantification of some model inputs and outputs. Facilitated by the powerful MAQS-Health Verification System, modelled concentrations have been evaluated in comparison with measured data from over 400 monitors from multiple networks, including a wide range of short- and long-term metrics. The metrics associated with Air Quality Directive reporting were derived from each model dataset and compared in graphical and statistical format. Common themes were identified including data quality and availability, calibration approaches and potential for future development. The final project report is currently under review by Defra and will inform Defra's modelling strategy for the future.

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