Process analysis, observations and modelling - Integrated solutions for cleaner air for Delhi (PROMOTE)

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Lancaster Environment Centre


Title: Process analysis, observations and modelling - Integrated solutions for cleaner air for Delhi (PROMOTE)

Air pollution has been widely recognized as a major global health risk. Given that 1 in every 10 total deaths can be attributed to air pollution (World Bank 2016), there are major implications for the cities of the world. As part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP), Delhi is subject to air pollution from a complex mixture of sources. As a consequence of the complex emissions and meteorology of the region, particulate matter (PM as PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen oxides (NOx, NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and black carbon (BC) all peak during post-monsoon periods and remain elevated during winter making the National Capital Region (NCR) one of the most polluted areas. Open questions remain regarding the inability of models to accurately predict air pollution during winter time fog events and quantifying incoming air pollution from large distances into Delhi.

Over 4 years, PROMOTE aims to reduce uncertainties in air quality prediction and forecasting for Delhi by undertaking process orientated observational and modelling analyses and to derive the most effective mitigation solutions for reducing air pollution over the urban and surrounding region. PROMOTE brings together a cross-disciplinary team of leading researchers from India and the UK to deliver the project aims. Its investigations will address three key questions:
Q1 What contribution is made by aerosols to the air pollution burden in Delhi?
Q2 How does the lower atmospheric boundary layer affect the long range transport of air pollution incoming into Delhi?
Q3 What are the most effective emission controls for mitigation interventions that will lead to significant reductions in air pollution and exposure levels over Delhi and the wider National Capital Region?

To address the three key questions we will:
1 Examine the contribution of secondary aerosols to the air pollution burden in Delhi during distinct meteorological seasons by developing a new representative model scheme for subtropical urban environments;
2 Investigate how boundary layer interactions lead to high air pollution events during pre-monsoon and stable winter fog periods affecting Delhi;
3 Quantify local, urban and regional contributions to Delhi's air quality through an improved understanding of aerosols, long-range transport and boundary layer processes;
4 Test the Delhi's air quality forecasting system incorporating improved understanding of aerosol pollution and atmospheric boundary layer processs;
5 Develop the first multiscale modelling system for predicting high resolution concentrations of PM2.5, PM10, NO2 and other pollutants and then provide the analysis for developing effective mitigation strategies for Delhi;
6 Synthesise and translate the outcomes of PROMOTE with other APHH projects to provide datasets for exposure and health studies and contribute to a roadmap for implementing effective local and regional mitigation strategies to meet current and future compliance and health requirements in Delhi and NCR.

Through our analysis, we will deliver new knowledge on how local, urban and regional (LRT) sources of air pollution affect Delhi's air quality. With an improved understanding of aerosols and lower atmosphere dynamics, sensitivities between air pollutant concentrations and changes in local (e.g. traffic, industrial) and regional contributions will be quantified with a new multiscale modelling system for recommending interventions and mitigation options for Delhi.

Planned Impact

Air pollution in cities such as Delhi is particularly acute and affects citizens on a daily basis. It has an impact in every aspect of peoples' lives including their health, travel, work, leisure and social interaction. In order to develop solutions to curtail impacts of air pollution, a multisectoral approach is required involving the public, transport, Industries, construction, civic services, public health and regulatory bodies. Our pathways to impact plan takes such an approach and seeks to involve a range of stakeholders including public groups, local and governmental policymakers as well as scientists through the pathways outlined below.

We will engage with stakeholders in the following ways:
2.1 Local city officers, national and regional policymakers
Local government officers will benefit from information on high resolution concentrations of air pollutants and how they relate to local situations such as congested road, industrial activities and domestic and personal life styles. UK and Indian partners will jointly produce an executive summary for policy makers in year 1, mid-term and a final document in year 4, for example on recommendations to support the development of air pollution mitigation policies and action plans for the NCR through WP5 activities. This document will be widely disseminated through the project website, and email followed up with a dissemination workshop in years 2 and 4 for key stakeholders. We will contribute to improvement of the SAFAR programme and we will exploit the existing links through this programme to inform local government policy makers. Measures of success: A key measure will be the use of scientific outputs to inform local and national policy briefings and scientific assessments.

2.2 Science community
One day science workshops will be held back to back with our project meetings and we will invite key scientists from MoES and NERC, universities and the wider science community. We will exploit our current involvement in international science projects and assessment programmes to directly influence the international science agenda through major activities such as CMIP6, AQMEII and HTAP. Science results from the project will be presented at major international conferences such as the International Air Quality Conference, and meetings of EGU, IGAC and AGU. For capacity building of young researchers in India, training workshops on Air Quality and Climate Modelling will be organized and held at IITM. Measures of success: A key measure will be citations of the papers and the use of the publications to support the development of mitigation and policy interventions.

2.3 General public and media communication
We will target media, press agencies, policy makers, business, schools and colleges and the general public through our existing institutional press offices and outreach programmes. The involvement of the public will be encouraged by
communication of air quality related information through social media and regular media announcement to raise awareness of the project and its outcomes. Press releases will be issued both in the UK and India during key stages of the project, and to coincide with major pollution episodes in Delhi (typically in December/January) to maximise the reach of our project results. Partner institutions take part in national and regional science festivals and regularly give talks to schools and local societies. One day workshops organised by IRADe with other partners for media, researchers, school teachers, NGOs and policy makers will be organized to develop awareness about the impact of poor air quality, mitigation initiatives and also to provide an update about the achievements of PROMOTE. Measures of success: Key success measures will include press and media coverage, news releases, media interviews and engagement in public information events including at schools.


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Description Our exploratory modelling studies have investigated the sources of air pollution in Delhi during the pre-monsoon season, highlighting the importance of both traffic emissions and regional transport of pollutants for ozone and particulate matter in the city. We have applied novel statistical emulation approaches to build response surfaces for these key pollutants, and used these to identify emission controls that would have clear benefits for both pollutants. We find that simple measures to reduce particulate matter may increase ozone, which is becoming more important as an urban air pollutant in Delhi, and we identify approaches to mitigating this.
Exploitation Route The approaches adopted here provide valuable guidance for policymakers on suitable pollutant emission controls to benefit urban air quality in India and elsewhere. Similar approaches are now being adopted to explore the interdependence of particulate matter and ozone in Beijing. The work has helped stimulate increased interest in urban ozone in India.
Sectors Environment

Description Keynote talk at IITM/ENVIS World Ozone Day Public Engagement Activity 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presented the keynote talk "Tropospheric Ozone from Global to Local Scales: Its Threats in India and Possible Controls" at the World Ozone Day 2021 celebration run as a public outreach activity by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, India and their Environmental Information System (ENVIS) partners funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Govt. of India. The audience was a mixture of school groups, institute researchers and students, and the general public in India, and was broadcast live on youtube. The presentation provided an overview of the wider implications of ozone in the troposphere and outlined findings on approaches to controlling urban ozone in Delhi from the APHH-India programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
Description Light Up Lancaster 2019: Activity on Atmospheric Transport of Air Pollution 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation/discussion activity on urban air pollution and its large-scale transport in the atmosphere. This was one of six contributions from Lancaster University to Lancaster City Council's annual "Lancaster Up Lancaster" festival in 2019 and ran over two days. The activities were targeted at children and the general public, and the total reach was about 3700 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019