Megacity Delhi atmospheric emission quantification, assessment and impacts (DelhiFlux)

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry


Inventories of emissions of pollutants to air form the basis for model predictions of air quality, visibility, human exposure, human health impacts, and climate change. They are further required to understand relationships between individual source locations or source types and targets. None of the model predictions and analyses can be better than the emission database on which they are founded. This project seeks to greatly improve the emissions inventory for the wider Delhi area, one of the most polluted conurbations globally. The emission inventory will be compiled at a 1 km x 1 km resolution with diurnal and seasonal temporal profiles. It will cover NOx, SOx, NH3, total volatile compounds with breakdown into its chemical profile, particulate matter in fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) size ranges, together with the toxic metal components within, as well as CO2 and CO as combustion tracers.
To improve the emission inventory we will make laboratory-based measurements of emission factors and also measure, for the first time in India, the emissions from individual vehicles under real-world driving conditions to characterize the actual Delhi vehicle fleet. We will further perform the first micrometeorological flux measurements of these compounds above the city and study their enrichment along a transect. This will provide further information on potentially missing sources and serve as a direct assessment of the quality of the emissions inventory.
We will further apply a state-of-the-art chemistry and transport model to infer the concentrations that would be expected on the basis of the new emissions inventory for comparison against concentration data from air quality networks and the wider NERC-MRC-MoES-DBT programme.

ODA compliance:
By providing the emissions data required to assess human exposure and develop cost-effective solutions to combat air pollution in Delhi, the project will target poverty and development issues. Accurate knowledge of emissions is a key factor underpinning the development of mitigation strategies which will deliver improved public health, whilst further allowing economic growth. Both the UK and Indian research teams will benefit from their interaction and exploitation of complementary expertise. The project will leave a legacy beyond the project lifetime by increasing the research capacity of the Indian teams and providing the knowledge base which will allow the findings to be extrapolated to the rest of India. Thus, the project findings will continue to contributing to the improvement of life and welfare of more than a billion people.

Planned Impact

Mitigation of air pollution in Delhi and assessment of human exposure are both heavily dependent on a reliable, quantitative assessment of emission sources in the urban area and surrounding regions. By generating and evaluating an improved emissions database for the region, DelhiFlux will provide a firm foundation for local government decisions that will benefit public health and well-being and inform studies addressing air quality and its mitigation.

Who will benefit:

1. Policymakers: Urban and regional government departments and ministries responsible for air quality policy-making in Delhi and surrounding regions and for designing mitigation strategies. These include the Ministry of Science & Technology, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Ministry of Urban Development, and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

2. General Public: Residents of Delhi and the National Capital Region who experience the impacts of air pollution on health and quality of life first-hand.

3. Scientific Community: Researchers interested in emissions inventory development; air quality modellers; atmospheric composition and climate modellers; the Indian atmospheric science community; UK and Indian researchers contributing to other parts of the Indian Megacity programme.

How they will benefit:

1. Policymakers: Decisions on emission controls require a sound understanding of the contribution of different source sectors to poor air quality. DelhiFlux will provide a much improved and evaluated high spatial resolution emission inventory that includes information on temporal variations and covers a much larger number of pollutants than currently available. This provides decision makers with the detailed information they need to develop control measures and to support long-term control of key sources such as vehicle traffic and biofuel burning.

2. General Public: The public will benefit from new knowledge of the key sources of poor air quality in Delhi, raising awareness of the measures that could be taken to address it. They will also benefit from the more informed decision-making that arises from it through better air quality that benefits their health and economic well-being.

3. Scientific Community: New measurements and understanding of emission sources and region-specific emission factors will be of immediate value to researchers building emissions inventories for the Indian subcontinent. This will benefit the wider national and international communities involved in megacity air quality modelling and in global scale modelling of atmospheric composition and climate. UK and Indian researchers will benefit from sharing expertise in novel flux measurements, emissions assessment and modelling, and the emissions data will improve operational air quality forecasting capacity in India. Other contributors to the Indian Megacity programme will benefit directly from new emissions data for Delhi, allowing them to make more reliable assessment of air pollution processes, attribution of human exposure, and mitigation approaches.

Addressing ODA Objectives:

The emissions data generated during this project will contribute directly to the development of effective and efficient methods of addressing air pollution in Delhi. As a major development issue, improvements in air quality will lead to better health outcomes and improved quality of life, underpinning future economic development in India. The results will be applicable to other cities in India, and the techniques can be applied in other developing countries. Both UK and Indian research teams will benefit from their interactions and from sharing their complementary expertise. The project will leave a lasting legacy that increases Indian research capacity and contributes to the future welfare of more than a billion people.


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