AQ-WATCH – new EU project to help mitigate air pollution

AQ-Watch (Air Quality - Worldwide Analysis & Forecasting of Atmospheric Composition for Health), a new project in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, has been launched. It is coordinated by Prof Dr Guy Brasseur at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M). Partners in the project will co-develop and co-produce tailored products and services that can be used by governmental institutions (at local, regional and national levels) and private companies in different sectors to help mitigate air pollution, and thus contribute to a better public health and optimized services from the energy sector. The consortium includes 12 top level institutes, applied science organizations and business-oriented partners from 10 countries.

Credit: AQ-WATCH

The Kickoff-Meeting took place in Hamburg in February 2020. Project coordinator Prof Brasseur: “We are very excited to establish an international partnership with top-level representatives of the academic, business and operational worlds, and develop a spectrum of advanced products and services that will lead to an improvement of air quality and human health on different continents.” A toolbox made of seven innovative products and services will be developed using state-of-the-art atmospheric models and European Copernicus datasets, and will be tested in three regions of the world: in Chile, in Colorado (USA) and in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area (China). The project will make it possible for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to integrate a very large number of datasets associated with Earth observations with advanced predictive models for the first time. It will create opportunities for the development and widespread adoption of new environmental technologies. It will also upscale the technical portfolios of SMEs and reinforce their ethical and social responsibilities in support of the world-wide effort to improve air quality.

Specific objectives of the project are:

  • To design and produce new global and regional air pollution atlases that include the climatological distribution of chemical pollutants complemented by quantities such as the diurnal and seasonal variations, air quality and related health indices, premature mortality exceedance frequency, long-term trends, etc.
  • To develop software packages with the capability to provide more accurate daily forecasts of air quality at the regional scale including tailored high-resolution fire smoke and wind-blown dust forecasts; downscaling of air quality forecasts to 2 km resolution in urban areas.
  • To develop a source apportionment service to mitigate air pollution and hence increase the life expectancy of the population in different regions of the world, with special focus on the role of agricultural sources of air pollution and the potentially important effects of fracking operations.
  • To develop a new tool-box that will be user-friendly and accessible to decision-makers to evaluate the efficiency of proposed mitigation measures in different industrial sectors on the resulting level of air pollutants in three different regions of the world. This will establish the basis for their wider adoption and generalization.
  • To co-design, co-produce and co-evaluate prototype products and services with prime users in three regions of the world chosen for their specific level of economic, social and environmental development for the first time.

More information:

Project website:


Prof. Dr. Guy Brasseur
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Phone: +49 (0) 40 41173 209
Email: guy.brasseur@we dont want

Dr. Nico Caltabiano
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Phone: +49 (0) 40 41173 362
Email: nico.caltabiano@we dont want