Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pollution Could Rise Due to Electric Car Boom in Europe

A boom in electric cars means Europe would have to look at building the equivalent of nearly 50 power stations the size of the UK’s planned Hinkley Point nuclear plant, EU experts have warned. And if big fleets of plug-in cars are charged with electricity from power plants burning coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, overall levels of SO2 air pollution are likely to rise, a study from the government-funded European Environment Agency shows. Read the full article @ Financial Times

Cars that run on batteries are widely regarded as an unalloyed environmental blessing compared with dirtier, smellier petrol or diesel vehicles and the new research confirms that a big shift to plug-in transport offers many benefits. On average, there would be a noticeable fall in emissions of some types of air pollution, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, as well as planet-warming carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas produced by human activities.

If the vehicles reach an 80 per cent share by 2050, the EEA study found this would require an extra 150 gigawatts of electricity for charging. The amount of electricity generated by clean renewable power plants has risen significantly across the EU since 1990, according to EU data that show wind, solar and hydropower accounted for 25 per cent of the bloc’s electricity in 2014. Nuclear power plants contributed 27 per cent but nearly 48 per cent still came from coal, natural gas and oil. The EEA study builds on work by the agency showing that if coal power alone were used to charge electric cars, the vehicles’ lifetime carbon emissions would be higher than that of petrol or diesel counterparts. Air pollution experts said the agency’s findings underlined the need for countries to consider carefully how to generate greener electricity as plug-in car numbers grow.

Paris Enjoys Its Second Car Free Day

Paris banned cars from large swaths of the French capital on Sunday as part of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s wider efforts to fight air pollution. But critics say her policies are only shifting the problem elsewhere. Around half of Paris was off limits to cars during a seven-hour period for the capital’s second “Day without cars” (Journée sans voitures), with exceptions made for public buses, taxis and emergency vehicles. This year’s event was even more ambitious than in 2015, covering 650 km of the city. Some areas around the capital were limited exclusively to pedestrians from 11am this morning, with many free recreational and educational events organised for city residents as part of the much-publicised event.

Read the full article @ France24

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Air Quality in Delhi (daily updates)

This is modeled source contributions to the ambient particulate pollution (PM2.5) in South Delhi district (one of the 14 districts in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi). The calculations are conducted in forecast mode. More NCR district reports @ Delhi Air Quality.Info

  • TRA.PASS = pollution from passenger vehicles (2Ws, 3Ws, 4Ws, Taxis, and Buses)
  • TRA.FRGT = pollution from freight vehicles (heavy and light trucks, and non-road vehicles)
  • URB.DUST = pollution from re-suspended dust on the roads due to vehicle movement and construction dust
  • RESI = pollution from domestic cooking, space heating, water heating, and lighting 
  • IND.BK = pollution from industrial activities and brick kilns 
  • PP.GS = pollution from power plants and in-situ diesel generator sets 
  • OUTSIDE = pollution linked to boundary conditions, in other words, pollution from outside the 80 km x 80 km modeling domain; which is calculated from a simulation over the Indian subcontinent, including the anthropogenic emissions, seasonal fires and dust events (calculated based on the most recent satellite data), and other natural sources 
  • WST.BURN = pollution from open waste burning
A number of source apportionment studies were conducted in Delhi (more in Delhi than in any of the other Indian cities). We summarized the known particulate pollution source apportionment studies, as an open article, "what's polluting Delhi's air". A snapshot of the shares from one of the studies is presented below.

The modeled particulate pollution in the forecast mode for the next three days is presented, as time series for SO2 and Ozone for the district and as an animation for all PM2.5 covering the modeling domain. Similar animations and daily average concentration maps for all the criteria pollutants are available @ Delhi Air Quality Info

See what is happening at the regional scale, which is conducted as part of the all India air pollution forecasting program, hosted @ The animation below is from a WRF-CAMx simulation conducted @ 0.25x0.25 degree resolution (approximately, 25km x 25km).

The pollution patterns change every hour and every day, depending on the prevalent meteorological conditions - wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and precipitation. Under windy conditions, most of the emissions get dispersed to farther places; Under rainy conditions, most of the emissions get drained out. Want to see how the weather pattern is holding up for the next three days in Delhi. Check out @ Below is an animation of the anticipated wind speeds and wind directions from the WRF meteorological model - also used by IMD for their forecasts.

The monitoring data from the DPCC stations reported as an air quality index by AQICN is as follows for one of the stations

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Existing Coal, Oil and Gas Fields Will Blow Carbon Budget

The world’s working coal mines and oil and gas fields contain enough carbon to push the world beyond the threshold for catastrophic climate change, according to a report released on Thursday. If all the existing fuel were to be burned, projects currently operating or under construction could be expected to release 942Gt CO2, said the report by US-based thinktank Oil Change International (OCI). This exceeds the carbon limits that would most likely warm the world 1.5C and even over 2C above the pre-industrial average. These were limits agreed at last year’s climate conference in Paris.

It has been established for some time that the enormous unworked reserves claimed by fossil fuel companies contain vastly too much carbon to ever be burned safely. But OCI said that this was the first time an analysis had been done of how much greenhouse gas is stored in projects already working or under construction.

Founder of and climate campaign Bill McKibben said the report “change[d] our understanding of where we stand. Profoundly”. It means that even if not a single new coal mine, oil or gas field were opened up, the carbon budget would be at risk, said OCI’s executive director Stephen Kretzmann. Projected investment in new extraction sites and infrastructure over the next 20 years adds up to a staggering US$14tn, the report found. “Continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry is now quite clearly and quantifiably climate denial,” said Kretzmann.

Read the full report @ the Guardian