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Improving the accuracy of air quality forecasts

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  • Full or part time
    Dr H Dacre
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Poor air quality has serious impacts on human health, in particular for those who suffer from respiratory illnesses. For example, during the heat wave of August 2003 it was estimated that up to 800 premature deaths in the UK were associated with poor air quality. Thus the provision of accurate air quality forecasts is very important to provide guidance to those who are vulnerable to high pollution levels. Air quality forecasts are produced using a combination of weather forecast models and chemistry models. The accuracy of air quality forecasts therefore depends on the accurate representation of the meteorology, the chemistry, and the interactions between the meteorology and the chemistry in these models. For example, during summer high pressure events, wind speeds are generally low and sunshine levels are generally high due to the absence of clouds. The abundance of sunshine results in an enhancement in ozone production. The low wind speeds mean that there is little
transport of ozone away from the Earth’s surface resulting in a build-up of ozone concentrations. This has consequent impacts on human health and crops.

The ability to forecasts such poor air quality events can help improve the way that people prepare and behave during hazardous episodes. In order to improve air quality forecasts, sources of error in the representation of the
meteorology, the chemistry, and the interactions between the meteorology and the chemistry need to be identified.

This aim of this project is to separate out and quantify the meteorological and chemical sources of forecast error in a systematic way by developing new and improved verification techniques.

A full project description is available at

A video is also available at

To apply, please go to

Funding Notes

This project is fully-funded via a NERC Industrial CASE award, in partnership with the UK Met Office. Funding is available to UK and non-UK EU students who have resided in the UK for 3 years of more. Funding is not available for international students.

How good is research at University of Reading in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 75.68

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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