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Scientists to use meteorological data to better understand air quality

Fifteen automatic weather stations will be installed in Sheffield to better understand air quality in the city.

OTT HydroMet is installing the technology as part of the University of Sheffield’s Urban Flows Observatory, which is led by the Departments of Civil and Structural Engineering, and Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE).

The monitoring sites are located at Sheffield schools and data from the stations will contribute to the project’s wider environmental monitoring objectives which include the free publication of data.

The Urban Flows Observatory aims to better understand energy use across Sheffield by combining a variety of environmental and atmospheric data sources to create a dynamic model of the flows of energy and resources in the city.

Each weather station will include a Lufft WS700 low-maintenance, low-power instrument for measuring wind speed and direction, temperature, precipitation amount and intensity, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and solar radiation.

Each station also includes a low cost carbon dioxide sensor as well as a battery-powered OTT netDL 1000 data logger, which transmits real-time data to a centralised platform.

The location of the weather stations at selected schools has ensured a good spread of monitoring locations across the city and will hopefully encourage pupils to access the data.

Steve Jubb, chief technical officer for the Urban Flows Observatory at the University of Sheffield said: ‘Meteorological data is critically important if we are to better understand the factors affecting air quality for example.

‘However, localised weather data will be important in its own right; helping us to monitor trends, compare locations with and without green space, and to investigate potential urban heat island effects.’

The Urban Flows Observatory is part of a wider network of UK Urban Observatories, a collaborative venture led by the Universities of Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield, and part of UKCRIC (UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities), which is working to address issues of infrastructure development.

The installation of the weather stations will be completed during the October half-term and Steve hopes to have the data publically available by the end of the year.

Photo Credit – OTT HydroMet

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