Studying the atmospheric composition in Bulgaria

A recent study gives an extensive overview of the atmospheric structure and air quality index in Bulgaria, showing that road traffic is one of the main factors of pollution

Services: High-Throughput Compute

Computing resources provided through the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (IICT) at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Air pollution has become a real concern in the past few years in Europe and it poses a growing health risk in many of our cities. According to a 2016 study by the World Health Organisation, a lot of respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, stroke and chronic pulmonary disease have been associated with or impacted by air pollution.

Knowing more about air pollution and how it affects our day-to-day lives is key to improving our well-being and quality of living.

Ivelina Georgieva and the team of researchers at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences wanted to know more about this issue and studied the atmospheric structure of Bulgaria and its capital Sofia, for a period of seven years, from 2008 to 2014. They wanted to determine the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Sofia and what factors contribute to the air pollution of the city.

Without the HPC cluster and the High-Throughput Compute environment we would not be able to do all this – install and run the models, organise the calculations in jobs, the needed time for the results and of course the needed storage capacity.

The Air Quality Index is a characteristic of the atmosphere that directly reflects the impact of the air pollutants on the health and quality of life of a given population.

To study the air quality and other meteorological elements of Sofia, Georgieva and her colleagues performed extensive numerical simulations of the atmospheric composition of the city, using up-to-date modelling tools. The calculations had large computing requirements and Georgieva decided to use the resources available at the Bulgarian Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (IICT). “For example, 1 day simulation with meteorological model at 16 CPU needs a runtime of 3 hours and 530 MB output storage space, and 7 years simulations require 1 year runtime“, Georgieva explains. “Without the HPC cluster and the High-Throughput Compute environment we would not be able to do all this – install and run the models, organise the calculations in jobs, the needed time for the results and of course the needed storage capacity.”

The results of the simulations, published in the Cybernetics and Information Technologies journal, give an extensive description of the atmospheric composition – its behaviour, origin and health impact. Georgieva and her team discovered that the pollutants affecting air quality the most are sulphur dioxide and fine particulate matter, with road transportation being one of main factors that contribute to the development of air pollution.

Part of this work was conducted in the context of the EGI-InSPIRE project and was based on the Bulgarian Chemical Weather Forecast System: a system of forecasting air quality over Bulgaria.

More information

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Bulgarian Chemical Weather Forecast System

BAS is the representative of Bulgaria in the EGI Council.

HTC usage

The team submitted computing jobs using resources made available by the Bulgarian Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (IICT).

Reference

I Georgieva et al., 2017. High performance computing simulations of the atmospheric composition in Bulgaria and the city of Sofia. Cybernetics and Information Technologies. doi: 17. 37-48. 10.1515/cait-2017-0053. (full paper)