Air quality

One today’s major environmental concern relates to the composition of the atmosphere. At the Earth’s surface, aerosols, ozone and other reactive gases, such as nitrogen dioxide, determine the quality of the air we breathe, affecting our health and life expectancy, the health of ecosystems and the quality of our living environment.

HYGEOS contributes to the European service on atmosphere monitoring

Understanding the complex interaction process between the solar radiation and the atmospheric components is the core expertise of HYGEOS. In particular, HYGEOS has a recognized expertise in the characterisation and the modelisation of the aerosols at global scale. That’s why HYGEOS is strongly involved in the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) which provides, amongst others, global atmospheric composition products using the Integrated Forecasting System (IFS) of the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecast (ECMWF). HYGEOS leads the CAMS2_35 consortium that maintains and further develops global aerosol and chemistry modules as currently implemented in the IFS, to implement an integrated chemistry-aerosol framework for relevant processes, and to develop and evaluate global products.

CAMS total aerosol forecasts in early June 2023, showing large fire plumes over Canada.

Forecasts of total aerosol optical depth in early June 2023, showing large fire plumes over Canada. Image produced with data from the global CAMS IFS with contribution from HYGEOS. From M. Parringtom (ECMWF)

In parallel, HYGEOS participates in two HORIZON EUROPE R&D projects which both prepare the evolution of the CAMS. Firstly, the CAMEO project aims at preparing the CAMS for the uptake of upcoming satellite data, advance the data assimilation and inversion capacity of the global and regional CAMS production systems beyond the state-of-the-art and develop methods to provide novel uncertainty estimates for CAMS products. Secondly, the CAMAERA project, coordinated by HYGEOS, focus on the quality enhancement of CAMS aerosol products through improvements of the modelling and data assimilation aspects of the CAMS system.

HYGEOS characterises extreme atmospheric events

Since 2016, HYGEOS has built a collaboration with SPASCIA, a French company specialized in the processing of sounding interferometer data. Together, they develop innovative methods to analyse the data of the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) flying on the European MetOp series of weather satellites. In particular, they have set-up a processing chain, based upon the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of IASI spectra. This software is able to detect and characterize on an automated way the extreme events. Demonstration has been done on major industrial accidents, biomass burning fires and a priori unknown events. Furthermore, this method can be used in support to performances of Level 0 processing performed by CNES and of Level 1 processing performed by EUMETSAT.

smoke and volcanic ash plume in the atmosphere

More details about recent HYGEOS projects on air quality: