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Models for analysing climate change and air pollution policies

Models and tools are used to simulate the future evolution of emission-generating activities as a function of economic development, to estimate the resulting emissions, and to assess the physical and economic impacts and benefits of emission control measures on a wide range of environmental and health endpoints.

The models can be run either independently or as useful combinations as part of more comprehensive assessments. These are grouped in three categories: climate and air impacts, activity and emissions and socio-economic assessments.

Recent publications:

  • Methodology for high-resolution NO2 exposure modelling - 2017
  • Elevated concentrations of NO2 in the ambient air and the health impact attributable to NO2 exposure are of increasing societal concern. In 2017, the European Environment Agency (EEA) estimated this to be in the order of more than 70.000 premature deaths across the EU-28 each year.

    There used to be a lack of an adequate methodology to assess the NO2 health impacts at an EU-wide level. To a large extent this is due to the strong spatial gradient of the NO2 concentration along roads. To accurately represent these gradients, a very high spatial resolution is required in the NO2 assessment which is very demanding in terms of computational load when applied to the whole EU.

    To address this, the European Commission commissioned VITO (BE) and King's College London (UK) to develop an improved methodology for NO2 exposure assessment at EU scale (service contract 070201/2015/SER/717473/C.3). This exercise included an extensive literature review listing different NO2 assessment methodologies and benefitted from recommendations formulated at a dedicated expert workshop in Bonn on 17 May 2016.

    The improved methodology is based on "QUARK – Quick Urban AiR quality using Kernels", which is a modelling approach developed for the fast calculation of urban air quality scenario assessments. The methodology was further refined and applied specifically for NO2 on a European scale, making it possible to compute emission reduction scenarios at a high spatial resolution (~100 m). This methodology is described in a final report and a more detailed manual.

  • The literature review is available here.

  • The final project REPORT is available here.

  • The modelling tools / scripts are available here (9.4 Gb):

  • A note on how to extract the file and the system requirements is available here.

  • A manual and a description of the modelling scripts are available here.