Clean air is an essential requirement to protect human health and the ecosystem. Achieving acceptable air quality requires the monitoring of ambient air quality, the setting of standards by the Ministry of Environment (MoE), and the implementation of control technologies.

Air quality is a national priority for Qatar. The Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute (QEERI) and TOTAL Research Center-Qatar, with their knowledge of local conditions, have set up a joint research pilot project to assess air quality within a 15–20 km radius circle centered on Qatar Foundation. This project will provide the policy maker with air quality monitoring data and real-time pollutant concentration mapping, so that they may develop air quality management strategies.

The pilot project will encompass most of Doha, as well as “background” areas, thus providing valuable information towards understanding the dynamics of air pollution. Although limited in geographic scope, the pilot project will help to understand the potential issues that would be associated with a full-scale project. These issues include assessing the quality of existing data, testing of various research tools and methods, identification and communication with the stakeholders involved. Importantly, the success of this project relies on data availability and quality from existing and forthcoming air quality monitoring stations.

To account for the small-scale variability of concentrations, typically not represented by fixed monitoring stations, a network of micro-sensors is being built. It will provide additional data to assess the influence from specific emission sources, in particular traffic, on air quality. A number of sensors will be deployed at varying distance along the roads. Data from the micro-sensors will be evaluated against fixed monitoring stations data as a performance benchmark.

Kriging is used to produce real-time concentrations maps. This advanced interpolation technique uses auxiliary data such as emissions inventory, land use, or model outputs in order to derive concentration information between measurement points. Kriging output consists of real-time concentration maps constrained by all the available information.

Training and capacity building will be also an important outcome of this pilot project between QEERI and TOTAL, thanks to the participation of students from Qatari universities to the project.


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