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Discover our 5 modules and their respective products and services


What are the sectors beneficting from our products and services ?


Our products and services rely on earth observation data


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Data and models

AQ-WATCH products use a variety of satellites and in situ datasets and models. Each of them is detailed below.

  • Public authorities & Municipalities
    Public authorities need air quality monitoring and forecasting systems for several reasons: Protecting Public Health: Air pollution can have significant adverse effects on human health, leading to respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and other health issues. By implementing air quality monitoring systems, public authorities can assess the levels of pollutants in the air and identify areas where air pollution exceeds acceptable limits. This information allows them to issue timely health advisories, implement mitigation measures, and take necessary actions to protect public health. Environmental Compliance: Public authorities have a responsibility to enforce environmental regulations and standards related to air quality. Air quality monitoring systems enable them to assess compliance with these regulations, identify sources of pollution, and take enforcement actions when necessary. Monitoring data provides evidence of air quality conditions and supports decision-making processes related to regulatory measures and enforcement actions. Policy Development and Planning: Accurate and up-to-date air quality monitoring data is essential for developing effective policies and strategies to improve air quality. Public authorities can use this data to identify areas with high pollution levels, determine trends, and assess the effectiveness of existing measures. Monitoring systems help in setting priorities, formulating targeted interventions, and evaluating the impacts of air quality improvement programs. Early Warning Systems: Air quality forecasting systems provide valuable information about the expected air quality conditions in the future. By utilizing these systems, public authorities can anticipate pollution events, such as episodes of high pollution or smog, and take proactive measures. Early warnings allow them to implement control strategies, issue alerts to the public, and mitigate the impacts of poor air quality on health, the environment, and economic activities. Emergency Preparedness and Response: During unexpected air pollution events, such as industrial accidents or wildfires, public authorities need to respond quickly and effectively. Air quality monitoring systems help in detecting and characterizing pollution incidents, enabling prompt response actions. By monitoring pollution levels in real-time, authorities can implement emergency plans, evacuate affected areas, and coordinate response efforts with relevant agencies and stakeholders. Public Awareness and Engagement: Air quality monitoring and reporting systems play a crucial role in raising public awareness about air pollution issues. Public authorities can share monitoring data, pollution alerts, and forecasts with the public through various communication channels. This information empowers individuals to take necessary precautions, make informed decisions, and participate in collective efforts to improve air quality. Overall, air quality monitoring and forecasting systems are essential tools for public authorities to protect public health, ensure environmental compliance, develop effective policies, respond to emergencies, and engage with the public in addressing air pollution challenges. These systems enable evidence-based decision-making, promote transparency, and support the development of sustainable strategies for air quality management.
  • Impacted industries
    Several industry sectors are impacted by the atmospheric pollution and in particular the skin care industry and the solar energy industries (power plants and electricity grid operators) but also the tourism industry. Air pollution can have significant impacts on various industry sectors. Here are some industry sectors that are commonly affected by air pollution: Agriculture and Crop Production: Air pollution can have detrimental effects on agriculture and crop production. Particulate matter and pollutants can deposit on crops, affecting their growth and quality. Additionally, some pollutants can interfere with photosynthesis and reduce crop productivity. Agricultural workers may also face health risks due to prolonged exposure to polluted air. Tourism and Hospitality: Air pollution can negatively impact the tourism and hospitality sector. Poor air quality in popular tourist destinations can discourage visitors and affect the overall tourism industry. Additionally, air pollution can diminish the attractiveness of outdoor recreational activities and impact the hospitality sector, including hotels, resorts, and restaurants. Manufacturing and Industrial Processes: Industries that emit pollutants as part of their manufacturing processes are directly impacted by air pollution regulations. Sectors such as power generation, chemical production, refining, metal processing, and cement manufacturing often need to invest in pollution control technologies and comply with emission standards to mitigate their environmental impact. Energy Generation and grid operators: With dust predictions, operators of electricity grids and solar power plants can optimize energy generation, plan maintenance activities, ensure grid stability, and enhance energy demand management. Cosmetics: By leveraging air quality forecasts, the cosmetic industry can adapt their product offerings, enhance consumer education, and align with sustainability goals, ultimately providing added value to their customers and addressing the specific challenges associated with air pollution and its impact on skin and hair health. FOCUS ON THE SOLAR ENERGY SECTOR Stimulated by strong policy support concentrated mostly in Europe, the United States and Japan, deployment of distributed solar PV systems in homes, commercial buildings and industry has been growing exponentially over the last decade. Use of EO data on factors impacting solar energy yields such as aerosol optical depth, ozone concentration or cloud cover can support both site selection, efficiency monitoring and yield forecast of solar power plants. Site selection is particularly key, as it is not only about determining the irradiance on a site, but is also about ensuring shading effects of solar panels e.g. due to dust are avoided and that sky conditions will be clear the majority of the time. As for energy monitoring and forecasting, the main interest of EO is to reduce uncertainties and ensure reliability of the estimations whose errors can lead to unforeseen costs. The needs of the solar energy industry are: Optimize the selection of solar plants locations and design Better estimate of the outputs (e. g. based on plant characteristics coupled with forecasts) On demand maintenance Production of forecasts (e.g. irradiance forecasts) for a better integration to the electricity grid FOCUS ON THE TOURISM INDUSTRY The air quality as of the overall environmental quality is to be taken into account as an important factor in the decision-making process of tourists to choose their destinations. Indeed, environmental quality can have a significant effect on the tourism destinations competitiveness [1]. In many touristic regions such as Egypt, China and India, the air quality and the environmental quality is deteriorating often because of the urbanization and industrialization trends. Beyond the more usual environmental problems that garbage disposal and water pollution can be, the increase of haze pollution in recent years has become a problem and the air quality is now a universal concern [2]. In a literature review study published in March 2020 in the Journal of Tourism Futures [3], several impacts of air pollution have been highlighted such as the impact on travel behaviour, travel intention and destination choice, the impact on visitors’ satisfaction or the impact on global tourism demand. Even if the number of publications on this issue is limited, some trends have been identified. Indeed, both research on global tourism demand and on individual perceptions reveal that air quality tends to have a positive influence on tourism demand, with decreases in air quality leading to decreases in tourism flows or to a lower likelihood of visiting certain destinations. The needs of the tourism industry are: Monitor the visibility and air quality in touristic areas in order to define appropriate strategies for haze reduction, Generate statistics on average visibility in order to better communicate to the potential tourists. [1] Tourists’ perception of haze pollution and the potential impacts on travel: reshaping the features of tourism seasonality in Beijing, China, Zhang, A and al., 2015, Sustainability, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 2397-2414. [2] Does air pollution drive away tourists? A case study of the sun moon lake national scenic area, Taiwan, Chen, C.-M., Lin, Y.-L. and Hsu, C.-L., 2017, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Vol. 53, pp. 398-402. [3] The impact of air quality on tourism: a systematic literature review, Eusébio C., 2020, Journal of Tourism Futures, ISSN: 2055-5911
  • Emitting Industries
    There is a need for the emitting industries to be involved in air quality matters due to stricter regulations. Indeed, many regulations prescribing the maximum concentration of pollutants are in force all over the world and industrial companies are bound to comply with them. Besides, often industrial areas and residential neighbourhoods are very close to each other such that industrial pollution might affect citizens and communities. By investing in air quality monitoring and forecasting systems, emitting industries can achieve: Regulatory Compliance: Emitting industries are subject to strict environmental regulations and emission limits. An air quality forecasting system helps these industries proactively monitor and predict air pollution levels in their vicinity. By having real-time information on air quality, emitting industries can ensure compliance with regulatory standards and take necessary measures to minimize their emissions, avoiding potential penalties or legal consequences. Operational Optimization: An air quality forecasting system enables emitting industries to optimize their operations based on anticipated air pollution levels. By knowing in advance when pollution levels are expected to be high, industries can plan their production schedules, adjust processes, and implement control measures to minimize emissions during periods of poor air quality. This optimization can lead to improved efficiency, reduced waste, and cost savings. Risk Mitigation: Air pollution incidents can have negative consequences for emitting industries, including reputational damage, public outcry, and potential legal liabilities. An air quality forecasting system helps identify periods of high pollution levels, enabling industries to proactively manage and mitigate potential risks. By taking preventive measures, such as adjusting production or implementing emission reduction strategies, industries can reduce the likelihood of pollution incidents and associated negative impacts. Stakeholder Communication: Emitting industries often face scrutiny from local communities, environmental groups, and regulatory authorities regarding their environmental performance. An air quality forecasting system provides industries with accurate and up-to-date data on air pollution levels. This information can be shared with stakeholders to demonstrate transparency, engage in informed dialogue, and showcase efforts to monitor and manage air quality effectively. Reputation enhancement: Implementing an air quality forecasting system demonstrates the commitment of emitting industries towards environmental stewardship and responsible business practices. It showcases their efforts to monitor and mitigate air pollution, contributing to the overall improvement of air quality in the surrounding environment. This commitment can enhance the reputation of emitting industries, attract environmentally conscious customers, and foster positive relationships with stakeholders.
  • Emergency services
    Wildfires are common throughout the world and a warmer and drier climate is expected to lead to more frequent and more intense fires near or within populated areas. Recent headlines are full of wildfire stories. This year, many countries have experienced their worst wildfires in decades. Smoke generated by wildfires is a mixture of various pollutants, amongst which are particulate matter below 2.5 um (PM2.5) and various gases. Direst emissions of toxic pollutants can affect first responders and local residents. Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects, including coughing, trouble breathing normally, stinging eyes, a scratchy throat, runny nose, irritated sinuses, wheezing and shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, an asthma attack, tiredness and fast heartbeat. Weather conditions such as wind, temperature, and humidity contribute to fire behaviour and smoke accumulation. Once smoke enters the atmosphere, its concentration at any one place and time depends on mechanisms of transport and dispersion. Winds move smoke away from the fire and contribute to atmospheric mixing meaning smoke impacts to the public may be lessened near the fire while winds can move smoke long distances into communities far from where the wildfire is burning. Communicating air quality conditions during wildfires is one of the measures to reduce their impacts on the public health. Accurate real-time monitoring of smoke and of the air quality can be very challenging. On-site air quality sensors can easily become damaged, causing them to fail to report accurately or not to report at all because of the fire itself. They may also be too far away and not measuring the right information. By combining ground observation and satellites data, AQ-WATCH can help to provide more accurate information on the wildfires with several benefits: Safety of Firefighters: Air quality monitoring systems can help assess the level of pollutants, such as smoke, particulate matter, and toxic gases, in the vicinity of a fire. This information allows firefighters to gauge the potential health risks and take appropriate precautions, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory masks, to minimize exposure to harmful substances during firefighting operations. Planning and Resource Allocation: Air quality forecasts can assist emergency services in planning their operations and allocating resources effectively. By knowing the expected air quality conditions, firefighters can prioritize their response efforts, allocate personnel and equipment accordingly, and strategize their firefighting tactics based on the anticipated challenges posed by the air pollution associated with the fire. Incident Management and Evacuation: Air quality monitoring systems can help emergency services in managing fire incidents and coordinating evacuation procedures. Real-time monitoring of air pollution levels allows authorities to assess the spread of smoke and toxic gases, identify areas at higher risk, and make informed decisions regarding evacuation orders to protect the public and ensure the safety of both affected and surrounding communities. Communication and Public Alerts: Air quality monitoring systems enable emergency services to provide accurate and timely information to the public regarding air pollution risks during fire incidents. This includes issuing air quality alerts, recommending protective measures, and advising vulnerable populations, such as individuals with respiratory conditions, to take necessary precautions. Effective communication helps in minimizing the potential health impacts on the affected communities. Post-Fire Assessment and Recovery: Air quality monitoring and assessment continue to be important even after a fire is extinguished. Monitoring systems help in evaluating air quality in the aftermath of a fire, identifying any lingering pollutants or hazardous materials, and assessing the potential risks to public health during the recovery and cleanup phase. This information aids in implementing appropriate remediation measures and ensuring a safe environment during the post-fire recovery process.
  • Airports and flight control authorities
    Wildfires as well as dust storms also pose unique problems for the aviation community. The most common problem is the reduction of visibility because of the smoke which strongly depends on the wind direction. Airports may close and reroute air traffic because of visibility problems, unstable air currents caused by the fires and dust storms, or damage to aviation facilities and runways. Airport operators and flight control authorities may benefit from more accurate real time visibility monitoring and forecasts. It will allow them to better anticipate and decide the rerouting or cancellation of flights or even closure of the airport which have an important economic impact for both the airports and the airline companies. In April 2010, global attention shifted towards Iceland where the volcano named Eyjafjallajökull had erupted for the first time since 1823, spewing a massive ash cloud and causing the largest shutdown of European airspace since World War II. The global GDP losses, resulting from the prolonged inability to move people or goods including the net airline industry and destination losses, along with general productivity losses, are estimated at approximately 4.7 billion US dollars (The economic impacts of air travel restrictions due to Volcanic ash, Oxford Economics, 2010 The Eyjafjallajökull crisis demonstrated that airport operators, airlines and flight control authorities may benefit from: more accurate real time visibility monitoring better forecasts for air quality and haze phenomenon’s It will allow them to better anticipate and decide the rerouting or cancellation of flights or even closure of the airport in the case of volcano eruption or wildfire which have an important economic impact for both the airports and the airline companies. The air transport sector would also benefit from a dust forecasting service for: Safety of Flight Operations: Dust forecasts provide crucial information about the presence and movement of dust storms and airborne dust particles in the vicinity of airports. This information is vital for ensuring the safety of flight operations. Flight control authorities can utilize dust forecasts to assess the potential hazards posed by reduced visibility, turbulence, or engine ingestion of dust particles. By proactively identifying areas affected by dust storms, authorities can issue relevant advisories, implement safety protocols, and adjust flight schedules to minimize risks and ensure safe operations. Flight Planning and Route Optimization: Dust forecasts enable flight control authorities and airlines to optimize flight planning and routing. By incorporating dust information into their decision-making processes, authorities can identify areas with high dust concentrations and reroute flights accordingly. This helps in avoiding areas of severe dust storms or high dust particle concentrations, minimizing the risk of encounters with hazardous conditions. It allows for efficient and safe flight operations while optimizing fuel consumption and reducing potential delays. Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings: Accurate dust forecasts contribute to the operational efficiency of airports and airlines. By having advance knowledge of potential dust events, airports can proactively prepare infrastructure, such as airfield maintenance and runway cleaning, to mitigate the impacts of dust deposition. Airlines can adjust their maintenance schedules, inspect filters, and take preventive measures to minimize the impact of dust on aircraft performance and engine efficiency. These proactive actions can reduce maintenance costs, increase operational efficiency, and minimize potential disruptions caused by dust-related issues. Collaborative Decision Making: Dust forecasts facilitate collaborative decision making among flight control authorities, airlines, and airport operators. By sharing accurate and timely dust information, stakeholders can engage in collaborative planning and decision making to mitigate the impacts of dust on flight operations. This collaboration ensures a coordinated response, effective resource allocation, and consistent communication, leading to more efficient and resilient operations in the face of dust events.
  • Research centres
    Most partners in AQ-WATCH are research centres that have developed or improved the models that are being used by the project. The joint expertise from these centres, in specific ways, is what set AQ-WATCH apart from other enterprises. However, many other research centres in the world, particularly in developing countries, may be able to use AQ-WATCH products for research purposes only, given the large number of models used, with different setups and resolutions. This in turn has the potential to improve the quality of the models used, and therefore, the products. The needs from these research centres may be: Understand the impact of model resolution in air quality simulations Understand the role of meteorological fields in air quality Understand the role of different parameterizations in air quality simulations Similarly, some research centres may deliver environmental services and they may use AQ-WATCH products to provide information to customers, through the interpretation of the model simulations and forecasts.
  • Citizens
    Citizens pay bigger attention to air quality and how pollution affects them. Citizens often prefer to receive information for the relatively small area in which they live and/or operate. This information must be tailored to their specific needs and distributed directly to them, for example by social media or through specialized mobile apps or websites. There are now significant attempts to further downscale the data provided by regional models into data that are valid at the city block and even the street scale. AQ-WATCH products will include specific information at spatial scale smaller than 1 km, which is considerably better than in most current applications. AQ-WATCH will allow individuals, through air quality alerts, to reduce their exposure to air pollution via preventive measures. By providing personalized information on (forecasted) exposure, it will help individuals to manage their life, to navigate and choose outdoor places to live, work, go to school, shop, travel, exercise, plan activities ahead, and better manage treatments – enhance disease management and medical decisions by allowing a patient’s physician access to this information. According to the Ambient Air Quality Database from WHO, around 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. While ambient air pollution affects developed and developing countries alike, low- and middle-income countries experience the highest-burden, with the greatest toll in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions. The needs of the citizens are: maps providing air quality information at local level enabling conscious decisions to be taken Information and forecasts for individual citizen to enable them to adapt their behaviour to reduce the health impacts of pollution episodes.

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