Integrated System for Intelligent Regional
Environmental Monitoring & Management:
ISIREMM Project description

5.4 Adequacy of chosen Approach

To implement the concepts and framework of ECOSIM in NIS countries, several challenges and constraints have to be addressed:

  • Limited availability of continuing observation data with sufficient spatial density;

  • Limited applicability of complex simulation tools with high data requirements;

  • Limited availability of reliable high-performance networking infrastructure.

These constraints require a re-thinking of some of the basic assumptions of the original system, in particular in the area of data availability.

As a consequence, ISIREMM extends the original concepts with the integration of advanced models developed to meet the specific local constraints and several data acquisition and monitoring methods that support these modeling tools.

5.4.1 The ISIREMM advanced model set

Going beyond the basic set of models described above, the NIS partners in ISIREMM will develop and integrate a set of aerothermochemical models of different levels of sophistication (and for different scales) for the studies of air pollution spread in the atmosphere over an industrial center.

Simplified mathematical models of the urban atmosphere will, to a great extent, be based on the empirical data from in-situ and remote sensors. This will provide the system with computationally efficient tools, when forecasting both the weather conditions and air pollution transfer in the atmosphere on the urban area scale. The core element of the simplified models is the system of the advection-diffusion equations for the indices of air quality in the urban area the source terms of which describe the corresponding chemical transformations.

The initial and boundary conditions for this system are, in fact, the volumetric data acquired with lidars, after the relevant processing. The nonstationary spatial fields of the wind and turbulence characteristics of the atmospheric boundary layer that are needed for solving the equations of the chemical substances transport, will be found from reconstructed data on the dynamics and temperature stratification of the urban air shed collected with a distributed network of sensors.

The simplified aerothermochemical models will be verified with the use of data of sodar and lidar sensing of the atmosphere as well as by making use of ECOSIM/AirWare models and the baseline model results.

The set of urban forecasting models which are being specially developed for further use in the ISREMM system and which use observation data collected with remote sensors will also be used in the verification when making real-time computations. This set of models will include a 3D nonhydrostatic mesoscale model to forecast the volumetric nonstationary distributions of the wind velocity, temperature, and moisture in the air over a territory with heat sources and having a complex topography.

The set will also include a 3D Eulerian dispersion model enabling calculations of the transport and chemical transformations of the chemicals that are indicators of the air quality. Turbulent stratification of the atmospheric boundary layer will be calculated using the two-equation k-l model or the turbulence model for correlation among the pulsations of the wind velocity components, temperature, and concentration. Numerical solution is based on the implicit, or implicit-explicit, finite-difference schemes with staggered grids. Discretisation of the initial 3D nonstationary equations will be performed using the control volume method in the second order approximation over time and co-ordinates. The convective terms of the transfer equations are processed by applying the QUICK procedure by Leonard. The calculations of pressure and corrections to the velocity field are performed by the discontinuity equation using SIMPLE algorithm by Patankar and Spalding.

The initial and boundary conditions necessary in the set of urban forecasting models will be set with the proper account of the data on meteorological quantities as well as of the data calculated numerically by applying the models developed by P03. This type of 3D regional hydrothermodynamical, hydrostatic models of the admixture transfer have been widely used in scenario calculations for analysis of the air pollution dispersal in the atmosphere over Baikal lake, Tomsk industrial region, as well as of other regions.

5.4.2 New sensors and monitoring data

The development of the remote sensors is based on a set of existing sensors of the atmosphere as a set of separate instrumentation each being used, or intended for use, in different branches of atmospheric studies, including the tasks of environmental monitoring.

To meet the primary goals of this project the individual components and instruments will be upgraded to achieve the overall objective of acquiring comprehensive information on the state of atmospheric environment. The upgrade will make it possible to use the set of remote sensors as a combined means of environmental monitoring providing the ISIREMM server with real time monitoring data.

The parallel use of a photometer (all sky camera) together with lidar scanning will provide for higher reliability of detecting and ranging the emergency events on the territory of Tomsk City. The photometer functions will be extended by equipping it with additional blocks for measuring solar radiation fluxes in the spectral range from UV to the IR and the information content of such lidar and photometer observations will be more valuable in further analysis of the environmental processes on the regional scale (atmospheric photochemistry).

Sounding of the atmosphere with a sodar is very promising in getting a real-time information on temperature stratification of the boundary atmospheric layer (most dynamic and thus very important in the environmental processes). The sodar facility available now certainly needs some modernisation, first in order to increase its operation range to cover the height range of the atmospheric mixing layer that presents the main region of the atmosphere where environmental processes are being developed. Besides, the modernisation implied under this project is also aimed at improving the other function of sodar sounding, i.e., to measure wind velocity profile in the atmospheric boundary layer.

Since analysis of the state of environment of a big city requires more information on various atmospheric properties than the existing local sensor net can provide, it is planned to design mobile units equipped with standard and specialised sensors to collect data on meteorological quantities (temperature, vertical gradient of temperature, wind velocity vector, including its vertical component, etc). To achieve this task it is assumed that under this project the mobile unit with Raman lidar and a specialised meteorological mast and acoustic sounder will be constructed as well.

It is an important task to develop and implement other algorithms and procedures for processing the data of atmospheric sensing for making those directly usable in calculations by 3D models. The measurement data are urgently needed when initialising the mathematical models, as the boundary conditions on the free boundaries and the underlying surface of the region under numerical study.

The measurement data are also needed for reconstructing the information to be used in calculations by simplified models. These data may also be directly assimilated with the calculated results thus providing for improvement of the computer forecast quality. At the same time the data provided for use in calculations by the 3D models should not lead to very heavy load on the computational infrastructure while making the calculated and forecasted values more realistic. For these reasons the importance of preparatory work on establishing optimal scheme of deployment of sensors, sampling rate, period of averaging the empirical information over time, and so on, must not be underestimated.

5.4.3 Modeling and optimisation: the DSS components

An important objective of ISIREMM is to provide decision relevant information. This can be accomplished in a straight-forward descriptive mode by communication monitoring results, forecasts under current conditions, or the results of WHAT-IF scenarios. Alternatively, the system can be used for prescriptive analysis based on an optimisation approach to find cost-efficient or budget constraints emission reduction strategies, a minimisation of environmental impacts (ambient concentration) or minimum cost compliance strategies.

ISREMM can consider a set of scenarios based on a set of discrete technological and policy alternatives. Each scenario represents a different organisation of the emission sources. For each emission source, a set of alternative discrete pollution control technologies is defined. These technologies can describe any technological measure or policy that reduces emissions for a cost.

Costs include investment, operational cost, and social cost in the case of plant closure or reductions in production levels. Technological measures include alternative fuels, burners or car engines, and end-of-stack filter technologies such as electrostatic precipitators in power plants or catalytic converters in cars.

We associate with a scenario investment and operations costs as well as other criteria like convenience or political acceptance, etc. A most important criterion will be the environmental impacts. The latter are calculated with a spatially distributed non-linear exposure or environmental and health impact function that can be derived from the simulation generated estimated concentrations, including standards and thresholds as well as spatially distributed weights depending on population distribution or land use.

The impact function (sum of squares of the exceedance of a standard value over all spatial units, scaled by a land-use penalty factor) is then minimised subject to monetary constraints, given a total budget, a planning horizon, and a discount rate, computing the net present value of investment and operational costs of alternative pollution control strategies. The result is a cost-effective set of feasible emission control technologies.

5.4.4 Test case application: City of Tomsk

The city and region of Tomsk in western Siberia has been selected as the ISIREMM validation site due to several reasons: A key partner is located in its vicinity, which allows the consortium to rely on the available stationary remote sensors and relevant data archives. The second reason is the active position that both the Regional Administration and the local population are taking in environmental issues. This active role is documented in the composition of the consortium.

The local interest in environmental matters is partly due to the existence of a very large nuclear plant and petrochemical enterprise in the area. In spite of the fact that current proposal does not directly address radionuclide monitoring, it will be an important step in this direction.

Also city streets of Tomsk are overwhelmed by cars, mainly second hand Japanese and European models which in their countries of origin are no longer in use due to environmental concerns. The third reason for the selection of Tomsk is that in spite of its provincial status and geography, 6 local Universities give Tomsk a quite modern and intellectual environment which is ready to exploit modern Information Technologies and is used to the Internet for work, study and ordinary life.

Tomsk is representative for many NIS cities that all but for Moscow lack a sufficient local net of environmental monitoring stations to provide conventional information systems with the necessary data for environmental management.

Last but not least is the fact that Tomsk is under strong influence of the heavily industrialised surrounding Kusbas Region, as well as the fact that under proper synoptic weather conditions the city pollutants easily reach arctic regions. Being situated on complex hilly terrain and along a river Tomsk shows a wide range of climatic situations (summer temperature reaching +38, winter minima -45 degree Centigrade). Strong cyclones and anticyclones influence and the occurrence of temperature inversions will allow to test, validate and evaluate the system under conditions, which are quite typical for a number of NIS industrial centers.


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