Successful & inspiring Urban Air Quality Symposium in Delft

Public audience at the Urban Air Quality symposium on 2017.02.17 (photo taken by Debbie Rietdijk)

On Friday 2017.02.17, the TU Delft Climate Institute, the Geoscience & Remote Sensing (GRS) research department and the Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) were honoured to host the Urban Air Quality symposium in Delft, at the Theaterzaal (Sport & Culture).

Thanks to a broad audience of 90 people attending this event, 9 invited speakers from space agency (ESA), research institutes (DCMR, RIVM, KNMI), company (TNO) and universities (UU, WUR, TU Delft), and an inspiring interactive discussion of ~30 minutes at the end between the public and the guests, this symposium was a great success!

Among many elements, the following issues and topics were emphasized:

  • Not only fine particles (such as PM2.5) affect human health and contribute to air quality declination, but gases such as NO2 itself is very harmful. Long-term exposure affects our lifetime but also our life quality…
  • The Netherlands has a unique set of technical skills about air quality monitoring in urban area, combining satellite instruments (OMI & TROPOMI) and ground-based infrastructures. Such competences are an asset and provide a high value of data and information to the society.
  • Developments of small air quality sensors are now in progress to improve measurements of air quality at the “nose level”. Such information is still hard to have over the whole globe and with fine spatio-temporal resolution.
  • Deriving surface emissions either from observations or by statistic means is clearly one of the biggest challenge for the next years. A lot of information are now made available but uncertainty characterization remains complex.
  • Improving our air quality environment is urgent not only for our health but also for improving our life style (e.g. stress). But this requires drastic changes in our individual daily life and actions.
  • Communication to society remains a challenge as each individual data  plot can be interpreted in different ways by the public. Diverse and innovative communication supports should be provided and further worked in addition to the classical ones.
  • Satellite observation can clearly provide trends on our air quality. But we need to pay attention to their interpretations: for example a decrease of air pollutants over 10 years does not mean this increase has been continuous and regular. OMI NO2 data show clear increase of NO2 over China until 2010, but a decrease has started then afterwards.

Interested to know more?  Please have a look on our GRS, KNMI or the TU Delft Climate Institute websites and our partners. Or contact us!

We take the opportunity to thank a lot all the 9 speakers who immediately accepted our invitations (Gerard Hoek – UU, Sef van den Elshout  – DCMR, Yasjka Meijer – ESA, Folkert Boersma – KNMI-WUR, Henk Eskes – KNMI, Hugo Denier van der Gon – TNO, Jieying Ding – TU Delft-KNMI, Guus Velders – RIVM, Ernst Meijer – TNO), the co-organisors and co-chairmen (Pieternel Levelt, Pepijn Veefkind, Julien Chimot, Tim Vlemmix), Debbie Rietdijk for the helpful material and practical supports, Jiyunting Sun for the flyer advertisement, Herman Russchenberg for the idea and everyone present in the audience.

We will likely repeat this initiative in the future!


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