In a recent editorial, Nature Geoscience has highlighted the work of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center on a simulation code called CALIOPE, which provides 48-hour air quality forecasts for Spain and Europe. The piece, published at the begging of February, highlights the health problems associated with air pollution which not only affects developing countries but many of the world's major cities. The problem of air pollution underlines the need for more competent simulation tools such as CALIOPE that can give decision makers the tools necessary to reduce air pollution.
The publication praises the work of the BSC researchers on the CALIOPE code stating that CALIOPE ‘goes further’ than most pollution warning systems.
The editorial states that ‘near-term forecasts have long been used to alert citizens about poor air quality, and forecasts are becoming more reliable in the 24– to 48-hour range. Some systems go further: in Barcelona, the CALIOPE system provides forecasts that incorporate different emission reduction scenarios such as vehicle bans. As such, CALIOPE and systems like it have the necessary functionality to provide decision makers with the information they need take preventive action’.
CALIOPE which was developed by researchers at the BSC, offers 48-hour air quality forecasts for Spain and Europe, thanks to the combined use of different simulation models executed on the MareNostrum supercomputer. With CALIOPE, the user can see the air quality and the concentrations of the main pollutants ‐ ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulates – at a specifically given location. Air quality forecasts are key to our ability to manage measures against pollution and its effects on citizens and the environment.
In addition to providing air pollution forecasting the CALIOPE model also provides the capability to model Meteorological and Emission forecasts. The system operationally provides air quality forecast at 24h and 48h for Europe (12x12 km), the Iberian Peninsula (4x4 km) Andalusia (1x1 km), Canary Islands (2x2 km), Catalonia (1x1 km) and Madrid (1x1 km). The CALIOPE model is made up of four components, an emission model: HERMESv2, meteorological model: WRF-ARW v3.5.1 , chemical transport model: CMAQ V5.0.2, mineral dust atmospheric model: BSC-DREAM8bv2.
BSC is a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence and a first-level hosting member of the European research infrastructure PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe). BSC also manages the Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES).