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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 8, 2010

UI researchers help forecast air quality for India’s Commonwealth Games

Researchers at the University of Iowa's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) are working with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune to provide official air quality forecasts for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The CGRER team, led by UI College of Engineering professor Gregory Carmichael and researchers Pallavi Marrapu and Scott Spak, has worked with the Indian government to design an automated system that predicts urban air pollution levels 24 hours in advance. Two high-resolution air quality models allow for unique forecasts for each stadium in Delhi and the Games Village. The forecasts are shown on wireless, color, digital display panels at the stadiums and sites throughout the city, and are available online at (Click on the image, left, to see a larger map of city.)

More than 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories are participating in the Games, which began Oct. 3 and run through Oct. 14. Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and so these forecasts help inform visitors and athletes of air quality problems in advance.

Marrapu, a doctoral student in chemical and biochemical engineering, trained the team in India to run the forecast system, which will be extended to other Indian cities after the games.

"The atmospheric modeling systems provide valuable forecasts during the Commonwealth Games, and also serve as some of our most important tools for understanding how megacities affect air quality and climate," said Carmichael. "This study in Delhi is an unprecedented opportunity to study connections between particle pollution and climate at the urban scale."

The partnership with CGRER was initiated through the World Meteorological Organization's GAW Urban Research Meteorology and Environment program, which seeks to help countries develop capacity in understanding and forecasting urban air quality.

The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event which has been held quadriennially (except 1942 and 1946 during the outbreak of World War II) and features competitions involving thousands of elite athletes from members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

As well as many Olympic sports, the games also include some sports that are played mainly in Commonwealth countries, such as lawn bowls, rugby sevens and netball. The games are overseen by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), which also controls the sporting program and selects the host cities. This is the first time India has hosted the games.

More information is available via an Indian government press release at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,