Finland’s capital, Helsinki, strives to play a pioneering role in terms of air quality monitoring. Helsinki’s Metropolitan Air Quality Testbed comprises a dense network of air quality monitoring stations spread across Helsinki’s conurbation. It is designed to provide accurate information about present and future air quality. An air quality model, currently under development, can bring insightful findings and help to reduce air pollution in severely affected areas.
Helsinki’s Metropolitan Air Quality Testbed Can Help Public Authorities to Fight Air Pollution Effectively
“While Helsinki itself is one of the cleanest metropolitan areas in terms of air quality, Finland’s world-leading atmospheric research, air quality monitoring capabilities and measurement technologies combine in Helsinki, making the area an ideal test laboratory,” says Maria Myllynen, head of the air protection unit at Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY.
“The main difference between our project and other air quality monitoring projects carried out elsewhere in the world is modeling. That allows us to produce local air quality forecasts to aid decision-making.” Timo Nousiainen, HAQT project manager of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, says. “The HAQT project will produce a roadmap for future air quality systems, to be used as a model in urban hubs to solve their air quality problems.”
Helsinki’s Metropolitan Air Quality Testbed, a project of the Smart & Clean public-private partnership, also includes state-of-the-art instruments from Vaisala and Pegasor to monitor air quality. They are tested by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY. Thanks to the low costs of these instruments, it is possible to set up a very dense measuring network to keep watch on ultrafine particles, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.
As of early 2018, the measured air quality data will be provided for the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s environmental information fusion service ENFUSER. They will process the data and generate easy to understand air quality information, including high-resolution air quality heat maps, and draw attention to emission sources and local pollution concentrations. The heat maps inform about past, current and future air quality on an hourly basis. The (open) data will be made freely available to the general public.