An integrated air quality forecast system for a metropolitan area
Air quality forecasting is an important issue in environmental research, due to the effects that air pollutants have on population health. To deal with this topic, in this work an integrated modelling system has been developed to forecast daily maximum eight hours ozone concentrations and daily mean PM10 concentrations, up to two days in advance, over an urban area. The presented approach involves two steps. In the first step, artificial neural networks are identified and applied to get point-wise forecasting. In the second step, the forecasts obtained at the monitoring station locations are spatially interpolated all over the domain using the cokriging technique, which allows to improve the spatial interpolation in the absence of densely sampled data. The integrated modelling system has been then applied to a case study over Northern Italy, performing a validation over space and time for the year 2004 and analyzing if the limit values for the protection of human health set by the European Commission are respected. The presented approach represents a fast and reliable way to provide decision makers and the general public with air quality forecasting, and to support prevention and precautionary measures.