Megacity Pollution Plumes

From local air pollution to global change in one century.

We modeled air pollution plumes from 35 major population centres during the past century. The animation produced shows the atmospheric emission and transport of a 10-day lifetime tracer, scaled to CO emissions and population growth.

It is meant to convey the rapid expansion of population living in cities during the 20th century and that megacity air pollution is not any more a local phenomenon but rather one which has global impact.

Technical details:

The EMAC atmospheric-chemistry model was used with grid resolution approx. 1x1 degree, 19 vertical levels, a time step of 6 minutes and simulation time condensed to 1 year. It required a week of running time on CyI’s planck cluster.