During a recent trip in Peru earlier this year, Vaisala and the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) joined forces in arranging a number of seminars in the capital city of Lima presenting some latest advances in tools for air quality management. Practical arrangements for the seminars were mastered by Vaisala’s local representative Mor Ltd. Seminars were held at the Environmental Ministry SENAM, Environmental Agency OEFA, Meteorological Agency SENAMHI, City of Lima as well as the National Engineering University.
Air pollution in Peru originates from typical emission sources, such as heavy and congested traffic in large cities, Lima in particular, as well as industrial emissions from mining, petrochemical and smelting industries. The characteristic geographical and climatic features of the country bring some local flavor to the air quality situation, too. Geographically Peru is divided into three very different and distinct regions: the coastal region with most of the population centers, the mountainous region with some industries and smaller agglomerations at elevations up to 4 kilometers, and the rain forest region where the mighty Amazon river has its origins. The climate in Peru is humid and relatively warm throughout the year but with practically no precipitation. Winters are foggy and cloudy, summers slightly clearer.
Collaboration is Important in Developing Air Quality Monitoring
Existing air quality monitoring infrastructure in Peru is mostly concentrated in Lima and a few industrial sites. Spending a few days driving – or actually standing in congested traffic – around Lima gives a clear picture of the most severe problem: dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particles to which a crowd of pedestrians, drivers and passengers are continuously exposed. With other cities suffering from the same problems, Peru has high ambitions to extend the air quality monitoring capabilities also to other cities. Also modern sensor technologies are considered in a forward looking way in Peru to complement costly analyzer stations.
Against this background, it is no surprise that the Vaisala/FMI seminars attracted large audiences in different organizations dealing with air quality in Peru. In the Vaisala presentation, the state of the art of sensor technologies for gas and particulate sensing were reviewed, and procedures for evaluating and validating the sensors were discussed. Also the concept of supplementary sensor networks and their design criteria were presented to the audience. Subsequently, with his 30 years of experience in atmospheric modelling, professor Ari Karppinen from FMI gave an account of modern air quality models such as the global SILAM model for regional air quality modelling and, with a special emphasis, the high resolution ENFUSER fusion model, both developed at FMI. The audience rewarded the presenters with undivided attention and a wealth of qualified questions on these topics.
With the key experts in the Peruvian agencies active in pollution monitoring now being updated with the Finnish know-how in air quality management, both FMI and Vaisala look forward to fruitful joint projects and collaboration with Peru in the field of air quality.