Thursday, September 10, 2015

iSPEX-EU project to measure air pollution

The iSPEX-EU project which involves the University of Manchester is designed to get a clearer picture of the atmosphere and the level of air pollution that people breathe in every day, ITRealms reports.

It is one of the biggest ever citizen science projects which needs volunteers from Manchester to help measure air pollution in the environment with the smart phone.
Nearly 10,000 people across Europe will be taking part, from cities including Athens, Barcelona Belgrade, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Milan and Rome as well as Manchester. 

The results will be used to map out just how dirty our air is and hopefully track how pollution spreads through the continent. Such air pollution and the impact it has on our health and the environment, ITRealms learnt, is still poorly understood and it is not clear what impact such pollution will have on climate change.

Access is by adding a simple piece of equipment to the phone and taking just a couple of minutes out of the day, volunteers can turn their phones into optical sensors which take measurements and upload them automatically for the researchers to study.

The add-on equipment, ITRealms gathered, is called a ‘spectropolarimeter’, and it is powerful enough to measure tiny particles in the air. It works with iPhone 4, 4S, 5 or 5S models. All volunteers have to do is scan the cloud free sky during daylight hours, while the phone’s camera takes pictures through the spectropolarimeter.

The Dutch group at Leiden Observatory that is leading the ISPEX-EU project, trialed a similar project in the Netherlands two years ago and proved to be extremely successful.
The Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, The University of Manchester,  Carl Percival, said,  
 “This is a really exciting project to be a part of, both for the way we are going about doing it and for the results it could produce. This is a project that means anyone with the right phone can take part in a real life science experiment, that will produce real data and help us know more about our environment,” ITRealms reports.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE
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