Monitoring atmospheric composition & climate
 
 
Poor air quality over Western Europe

16 March 2015

MACC-III forecasts for this week show that Western Europe, and especially France, will be affected by an episode of poor air quality. 

The current weather pattern, which is relatively stagnant and which puts a cap on the lowest layer of the atmosphere, is trapping emissions of small particles as well as other chemical species. The MACC-III European air quality forecast for Friday clearly shows this effect for Western Europe. The figure shows the daily maximum values of PM10 (small particles), which are clearly enhanced over a large area. Winds will transport the pollution in a south-westerly direction over the Atlantic Ocean and towards Morocco.

pm10_3.png

In Paris levels of PM10 are expected to exceed regulatory levels by a significant amount over the next two days and again on Friday, as is illustrated in the time series below.

epsgram_Paris_2015031700_pm10.png

At the same time, the global MACC-III forcast shows a plume of desert dust being transport from the Sahara region towards Spain (click on image for an animation). The situation this week therefore has strong similarities with the episode in April last year, which showed a similar combination of pollution at the ground and desert dust at elevated levels.

macc_dust_plume_036.png