Articles | Volume 28, issue 1
14 Jan 2010
 | 14 Jan 2010

Atmospheric composition forecasting in Europe

L. Menut and B. Bessagnet

Abstract. The atmospheric composition is a societal issue and, following new European directives, its forecast is now recommended to quantify the air quality. It concerns both gaseous and particles species, identified as potential problems for health. In Europe, numerical systems providing daily air quality forecasts are numerous and, mostly, operated by universities. Following recent European research projects (GEMS, PROMOTE), an organization of the air quality forecast is currently under development. But for the moment, many platforms exist, each of them with strengths and weaknesses. This overview paper presents all existing systems in Europe and try to identify the main remaining gaps in the air quality forecast knowledge. As modeling systems are now able to reasonably forecast gaseous species, and in a lesser extent aerosols, the future directions would concern the use of these systems with ensemble approaches and satellite data assimilation. If numerous improvements were recently done on emissions and chemistry knowledge, improvements are still needed especially concerning meteorology, which remains a weak point of forecast systems. Future directions will also concern the use of these forecast tools to better understand and quantify the air pollution impact on health.