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.