Project to help measure pollution of urban atmosphere in cities

Posted by ap507 at Nov 25, 2014 03:20 PM |
University partnership with Bluesky to improve understanding of nitrogen dioxide in cities
Project to help measure pollution of urban atmosphere in cities

PhD student in the University of Leicester’s Department of Physics and Astronomy Jordan White

Arguments about which UK city has the most polluted air could be put to rest once and for all thanks to a landmark new project that uses state of the art techniques to measure air pollution in city environments and the dangers posed to people exposed to it.

Using an airborne mapping system developed by University scientists, integrated with ground-based sensors, PhD student Jordan White from the Department of Physics and Astronomy is aiming to improve reporting of air pollution levels to provide a quantitative understanding of the levels of nitrogen dioxide around a given city.

The project is sponsored by aerial mapping company Bluesky and will be using the novel system to record in fascinating detail the effects pollution is having in cities during people’s day-to-day lives.

It will build on results from previous trials of the University's world leading Compact Air Quality Spectrometer. Mounted on a dedicated aerial survey aircraft the device monitors visible light and measures how much light is lost at specific wavelengths absorbed by NO2.

The technology has previously been used as part the CityScan project with devices mounted on tall buildings in Leicester, Bologna and London during the Olympics to build 3D maps of pollution across the cities.

The project will also use data from a network of low cost ground based air quality sensors, sponsored by Bluesky, and additional geospatial information including Bluesky’s 3D building models and National Tree Map data.

The research project, part of a regional doctoral training partnership, is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) through the Industrial CASE Studentship programme.