Led by: Noel Nelson, Met Office

The concept of a framework and/or systems approach to air quality study and analysis has many potential benefits.  Air quality is scientifically multi-disciplinary; spatially and temporally multi-scale; cross cutting in terms of policy and government structure from local, to national and across devolved administrations; and multi-faceted in terms of causes, sources and impacts.  This all highlights many components and interconnections that present their own shared challenges.  The level of resource and capability to genuinely span all these areas expertly simply does not reside within any single team or organisation.

There are however common requirements, dependencies and interconnections that lend themselves to a certain level of shared science, infrastructure, data and tools.  There exist examples of this level of shared resource, but these are often dispersed, each requiring individual approaches and effort, and they may not be perfectly matched to the use to which they are being put.  Community members’ knowledge of these resources also varies considerably as does our shared understanding of what each are using and doing, and the limitations and uncertainties of inputs and our own activities and outputs.

The Met Office atmospheric dispersion and air quality (ADAQ) group and Informatics Lab will develop a Clean Air framework which will seek to:

Develop a community led and maintained resource that:

  • reduces duplication of effort;
  • enhances transparency;
  • provides easier access to data – measured and modelled;
  • provides and environment for easier evaluation and comparison of new information emerging from air quality analyses; and
  • provides and environment of shared tools and resources to service the needs of those involved in air quality management, whether this be through research, policy development, business of public information.

The nature of air quality as a broad multi-disciplinary subject presents its practitioners with challenges in terms of the breadth and depth of knowledge an individual would require to adequately span the subject, and in the potential number of collaborators necessary to ensure individual expertise in each field.  There is a need therefore to include the opinions and experiences of a range of experts in the field when developing the aspects of the framework.  The Clean Air programme will therefore seek to engage with the wider air quality community in developing a systems-led integrated approach to achieving its aims.  This work will be led by ADAQ and Dr Alex Archibald from the University of Cambridge and will consist of a number of events targeted at cross-disciplinary engagement.  There will be a strong link with work under the framework and also with the UKRI Clean Air Champions.