Shanghai begins forecasting air pollution

Shanghai's Air Quality Index (AQI) will range from 40 to 60 in the afternoon Monday, indicating good or excellent air quality, according to the city's first air pollution forecast.

The Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center and the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau began Sunday releasing a 24-hour forecast for the AQI, the city's primary gauge of air pollution, to inform residents what kind of air quality to expect for the day to come.

The two agencies will release the forecast around 5 pm each day, according to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center. The forecast will predict the levels of air pollution over three periods: from 8 pm on the day of the forecast to 6 am the following day, from 6 am to noon and from noon to 8 pm. It will also disclose which of the air pollutants it tracks is most prevalent over each period.

The forecast is based on computer models that crunch weather and pollution data from the past, said Li Juan, an engineer from the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center. "Apart from the weather information, mostly related to wind and temperature, we will look at historical pollution data," Li told the Global Times.

The center has built several models for the AQI based on the data it has collected.

"These models can show us what causes certain types of pollution and will also help us analyze the index's forecast," she said.

The pollutant known as PM 2.5 has been the most difficult to predict. "The PM 2.5 index can drastically change in accordance with emissions and temperatures," she said.

The monitoring center plans to extend the forecast to 48 hours in the near future.

The forecast can be found at www.semc.gov.cn.


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