When a city lacks clean air

In Shanghai, Finnish researchers will be presenting a collaborative digital model for the tracking of air quality, which will allow large cities to direct their growth in such a way that the effect of air pollutants can be limited. Follow the events on 28 - 29 June on the Twitter accounts @MarkkuKulmala1, @marialnordling and @KumpulaScience.

Residents of the world’s big cities are at risk of suffering from air pollutants when the population is packed into the growth centres, giant cities in which there is simultaneously a glaring lack of clean air. At the worst, indoor and outdoor air pollution leads to millions of unnecessary premature deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

At a meeting taking place in Shanghai at the end of June, researchers from the University of Helsinki will present a collaborative digital model, a ”5G air quality observation model”, the mobile MegaSense, which will make it possible to plan cities in a way that is durable from a climate perspective.

MegaSense utilises the network of SMEAR stations

The MegaSense model utilises a network for measuring the interaction between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere that was created by academician Markku Kulmala at the University of Helsinki. The network consists of SMEAR stations (SMEAR = Station for Measuring Earth surface - Atmosphere Relations), which record data on small particles, greenhouse gases, air chemistry, soil, and interactions between all of these. Such stations already exist in Finland, Estonia and China.

“At the start of 2018, in the publication Nature, I made my case to the international research community that we need ongoing, multi-faceted tracking of the interactions between the earth’s surface and the atmosphere. The idea is to establish a unified network of observatories. With a thousand top-level stations, this worldwide tracking of climate change would be sufficient, according to calculations,” Markku Kulmala says.

Real-time observation system using 5G and sensor technology

The purpose of the MegaSense model on display in China is to create a real-time observation system for the world that provides precise information about air quality and harmful substances in the air. The data can be utilised not just in city planning, but also in various different devices in cars, at home, and in offices.

“This is made possible by the online calibration of the measuring devices via SMEAR stations, by the University of Helsinki’s geographical information capabilities – involving such processes as data transfer via satellite – and by a smart 5G mobile network developed in Finland,” says professor Sasu Tarkoma.

Innovation funding for UrbanSense

In Finland, the corresponding real-time 5G air quality tracking network just received innovation funding from the City of Helsinki. In addition to 5G, another focus of the research at the university is the precise, real-time tracking of air quality using new sensor technology. This project goes by the name UrbanSense.

Read more:

Solution brief: https://onestore.nokia.com/asset/202208

The MegaSense collaboration is led by computer science professor Sasu Tarkoma

The atmosphere is measured by SMEAR stations on the map.

INAR is an atmospheric science centre launched at the University of Helsinki in early 2018. Its research is based on physics, chemistry, meteorology, forestry, geoinformatics, environmental science and social science. The centre does research at both the molecular level and the level of the whole world, focusing particularly on climate change, air quality, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem processes.

The centre is lead by Markku Kulmala.

Researcher Markku Kulmala proposes a worldwide network of observatories: Build a Global Earth Observatory, Nature, 2018/03/01

The University of Helsinki and Nokia Bell Labs are developing smart 5G technology for tracking air quality

Urban Sense, an open 5G innovation platform from the University of Helsinki, Forum Virium Helsinki, and the City of Helsinki

Forum Virium Helsinki is a company that is part of the Helsinki City Group. It develops new digital services with corporations, the City of Helsinki, other public operators, and city residents. The aim is to develop city services, generate new business, and open new links to international markets.

Follow people from the university on 28 - 29 June 2018 in Shanghai, at the following Twitter accounts: @MarkkuKulmala1, @marialnordling, @KumpulaScience, #MWCS18, #5G, #megasense, @nokia

Contact information

Markku Kulmala, +358 40 596 2311, markku.kulmala@helsinki.fi

Professor Sasu Tarkoma, +358 40 506 2163, sasu.tarkoma@helsinki.fi

Professor Petri Pellikka, +358 50 415 4701, petri.pellikka@helsinki.fi