3.48 - ISY-AIR – An Integrated System for Urban Scale Air Quality Assessment and Forecast (MIT-EXPL/IRA/0023/2017)

Project Description

Air quality in urban areas is, at present, a major concern for many European countries including Portugal. Among the air pollutants, Particulate Matter (PM) is emphasized because of harmful effects on human health and also due to its impacts on the climate system. In urban environment, primary aerosol particles are released by local pollution sources and road traffic is identified as one of the major contributors. However, long-range transport of polluted air masses can significantly affect urban air pollution levels. Therefore, urban air pollution is a complex issue that requires implementation of multiscale and integrative approaches able to provide consistent information on the pollutant sources, processes involved and their impacts. Air quality forecast at urban scale becomes a challenging perspective to provide timely information on expected pollution levels.

The ISY-AIR project is addressing a multidisciplinary research in the field of atmospheric pollution in a complex urban environment. This research is focused on atmospheric aerosols, including their sources (anthropogenic/natural), concentration (mass and number) and size distribution. The main objectives of the project are:

  • To explore currently available global/regional scale services based on Earth observations and Atmospheric modelling and to evaluate their applicability to urban scale air pollution forecast;
  • To integrate transportation-emission-dispersion modelling in order to improve characterization of the most relevant anthropogenic pollution sources in the urban environment;
  • To improve characterization of urban aerosol number and size distribution emphasizing on anthropogenic and natural (mineral dust, sea salt) sources relevant in the Atlantic Region;
  • To develop a prototype of new web-based service for air quality forecast at urban scale applied to the study area (Coimbra).

The methodology will be based on the exploration of the European Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), regional air quality modelling, urban scale dispersion modelling and aerosol measurements. Road traffic emissions for urban area will be characterized with high spatial and temporal resolution based on transportation and emissions modelling tools. A prototype of web-based service for air quality forecast at urban scale will be provided as the main outcome of the project. The results obtained from this exploratory project will potentially contribute to advance in understanding of the life-cycle of the aerosol in urban atmosphere focusing on anthropogenic emission sources and long-range transport of air pollution. 

The research team has long experience in the fields of atmospheric pollution and transportation systems acquired in the scope of national and European research projects. ISY-AIR is an exploratory project designed for one year. To achieve the objectives, the scientific work will be supported by solid basis from previous and on-going research. The multidisciplinary approach defined in this project will contribute to the key research challenges established for the Azores International Research Center and allows future collaboration in the framework of MIT-Portugal program.

Research Team


  • Oxana Tchepel (coordinator)
  • António Pais Antunes
  • Daniela Dias
  • Noela de Pina


  • Alexandra Monteiro
  • Carla Gama
  • Casimiro Pio
  • 2 Grant-holders with a MSc (both to hire)
Financial Support
  • FCT (MIT Portugal Program)
Stage of Progress
  • Concluded