To enhance its air quality monitoring system, the Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi (EAD) hasdeveloped and implemented a sophisticated, multi-theme air quality modelling system for Abu Dhabi.

The system will support regulation via the assessment of cumulative air quality impacts expected from new facilities and urban development projects, reduce public exposure to air pollution and support the improvement in air quality across Abu Dhabi. This is while helping to assess the effectiveness of future action plans and policies. It will also provide expert technical support, training and capacity building to enable the identification of pollution hotspots where elevated pollutant concentrations occur, and the development of detailed emirate-wide annual air quality maps.

The air quality maps of Abu Dhabi will complement EAD’s ambient air quality monitoring network and assist in evaluation of dispersion modelling for Environmental Impact Assessments. In addition, the new modelling system will support the assessment of air pollution control plans, regulations and strategies for attainment and maintenance of acceptable air quality and provide projections of future air quality trends associated with regional planning options. It will also lead to air quality forecasts that can be shared with the public, while enhancing scientific knowledge and research about air quality in Abu Dhabi and UAE, with a special focus on ozone and particulate matter.

Pollutants of major concern in Abu Dhabi Emirate are particulate matter and ground ozone. Sulphur dioxide levels are within UAE limits across most of the ambient air quality monitoring network, although an increase in concentrations has been observed over the past few years in the Al Dhafra Region. Hydrogen sulphide concentrations are not at harmful levels to the public, but frequent episodes of odour nuisance due to hydrogen sulphide have been recorded. Levels of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide are below the limits set in the UAE air quality standard.

Efforts to improve air quality are cross-sectorial, and include monitoring, regulations, enforcement, environmental planning, research and awareness – all of which will lead to a healthier environment and better quality of life.

Air quality modelling will support several of EAD’s strategic partners, such as the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), Abu Dhabi Executive Office (ADEO), Department of Health (DOH), Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Municipalities and Transports (DMT), Department of Economic Development (DED), Department of Energy (DOE), and ADNOC Group, among others.