AlpAirEO

The Alps are the living environment for nearly 14 million people and the tourist destination for approximately 120 million guests each year. Not only does this region comprise major urban agglomerations, like nowhere else in Europe, settlements, industry and traffic are predominantly concentrated and competing in valleys. This hinders ventilation, and causes hotspots of air pollution, heat stress and increased health risks. By contrast, the elevated regions are distinguished by low concentrations of pollutants and allergens but high UV-radiation and cold stress. Only satellites in conjunction with atmospheric models can deliver the spatial coverage needed to address this diversity. The unprecedented capabilities of the new Sentinels and the Copernicus services have not yet been combined to examine environmental stressors in the Alpine region in a consistent and adequate way. This is possible by deriving data based index values supported by WHO and WMO-CCI, namely ARI (Aggregated Risk Index) and UTCI (Universal Thermal Climate Index). AlpAirEO will exploit Earth Observation, model and medical data to derive and validate the impact of air pollutants and thermal stress on human health. Using state-of-the-art technology it will deliver innovative science and information services to support expert and non-expert stakeholders and thereby help to improve the general quality of life in the Alps. In particular AlpAirEO will:

  1. Review space-based data resources and ground-based station network data with respect to the potential value for air quality monitoring and health.
  2. Review health and population data bases and medical sciences to assess data needs, identify gaps and propose solutions to develop a robust and validated health risk index.
  3. Perform an Earth Observation-based analysis of air pollution episodes and trends in the Alps with a focus on the burden of surface NO2, SO2, O3,PM2.5 and PM10 by means of the new Sentinel-3 and Sentinel-5P missions. Therefore derive the surface concentrations from column data using regression and data assimilation methods supervised by station observations.
  4. Quantify the exposure of the Alpine population to environmental stressors by linking environmental data (from 2) with population data from demography (ESA TEP) and verify the derived health risk by comparisons to health data ( Eurostat), medical science registers and epidemiological studies (KORA, NAKO, GABRIEL).
  5. Use CAMS results and the mesoscale chemical dispersion model Polyphemus/DLR to forecast the risk index . The forecast will cover the current and two following days. This service will be especially valuable for informing authorities and help in short-term planning.
  6. Deliver daily maps and build an archive of relevant input data and the derived integrated health risk index values, namely ARI and UTCI. Data mining, processing and delivery will be based on the well-proven cloud service infrastructure of the Alpine Environmental Data Analysis Center (AlpEnDAC).