With less than a month remaining before the Beijing Olympics, Chinese officials have introduced a series of measures to improve air quality for the Games. A new tool has been installed in the capital city to allow the Chinese to monitor the effectiveness of these efforts.
Poor air quality could pose problems for the Olympic athletes and hinder the performance of those competing outdoors in endurance sports, such as cycling and marathons.
Since the main source of air pollution in the Beijing urban area is vehicle emissions, restrictions on car traffic began on 20 July in order to take 50 percent of Beijing's 3,5 million vehicles off the road.
From then until 20 September, private vehicles will only be allowed to drive on alternating days and cars with high emissions will be banned.
On behalf of ESA, CERC (Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants) installed a High Resolution Air Quality Forecasting System at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) that allows Chinese authorities to monitor the effect these cuts have on street level air quality.
"We are delighted to have installed the system in Beijing and believe the detailed air quality forecast it provides will prove a valuable tool in predicting and understanding Beijing's Air quality," David Carruthers from CERC said.
"The system is highly flexible and can be adjusted rapidly, for example, to take account of the special emission reduction actions being implemented during July until after the Games."
Thanks to this new tool, operational street scale air quality forecasts for Beijing have been generated since 8 July exactly one month before the Games' opening ceremony.
Three-day forecasts are posted daily and are accessible on the Beijing Air Quality website www.beijingairquality.cn. The forecasts are high-resolution pollution contour maps that predict levels of n
|Contact: Claus Zehner|
European Space Agency