Tracking air pollution around the Olympics
09 Aug 2012
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London 2012 has been a focus for excellence and endeavour, with a population keen on the next amazing feat and result.  However, not only are the Olympics providing stunning sporting results for the UK, they are providing scientific data which will help i

 

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RAL Space 12m disth with FGAM monitoring equipment
(Credit: David Hooper, RAL Space)

London 2012 has been a focus for excellence and endeavour, with a population keen on the next amazing feat and result. However, not only are the Olympics providing  stunning sporting results for the UK, they are also providing scientific data which will help improve air quality forecasting in the years ahead.

Increasing visitors, transport and travel re-routing within the Capital, as a result of the Olympics, offer a unique opportunity for scientists to monitor how these changes affect our atmosphere.   

Clean Air for London (Clearflo), a project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, is a collaborative project involving 11 UK institutions and Universities. The project monitors air pollutants at several sites in the Capital and in the surrounding areas. Measurements are being collated throughout July and August, coinciding with the Olympics, and will provide data to investigate boundary layer pollution across London and its environs.

As part of this campaign, RAL Space at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are hosting ozone and aerosol lidar, designed to look at aerosol backscatter and ozone concentrations in the lowest few kilometres of the atmosphere.   The site on the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory was chosen due to its proximity to an air quality monitoring station at Harwell which, being due west of London, provides an upwind profile of the atmosphere before it reaches London. 

Scientists are reporting from initial results (link opens in a new window)that the wet summer so far may be providing cleaner air than we would otherwise experience during the Olympics.

The instruments at RAL are managed by the Facility for Ground-based Atmospheric Measurement (FGAM) which is part of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). 

This research has also been featured in the BBC News (link opens in a new window)

Find out all about Clearflo (link opens in a new window)

 

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries

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