World Challenge Finland 2018

Mitigation of Ambient Air Pollution Challenge

The Challenge

In the World Challenge Finland 2018, Vaisala is looking for ideas, solutions and applications that provide new tools for mitigation of ambient air pollution based on combining satellite observations, high-resolution in situ data from ground level measurement networks, and advanced air quality modeling.

Urban air pollution poses a significant threat to human health and the quality of life of millions of people worldwide. Being able to comprehensively estimate overall ambient air pollution aids air quality organizations in their decision-making and assists in the implementation of preventive actions to reduce emissions.

According to a recent study by the World Health Organization, nine out of ten people are estimated to breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, causing around 7 million deaths every year ( More than 90% of air pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, but also in Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and the Americas. Many of these areas have no air quality monitoring networks, and consequently lack air pollution data needed for effective planning of mitigation measures and control of pollution sources. More information about local air quality can be found here:

New satellite instruments, such as Tropomi onboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite developed jointly by ESA and the Netherlands Space Office, offer improved accuracy and spatial resolution in measuring atmospheric gases, including pollutants like ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and fine particles ( These satellite observations provide air quality observations with global coverage. However, their spatial and temporal resolution are quite limited for high-resolution air quality monitoring and forecasts. Such applications require additional data sources from ground level measurement networks.

Another necessary component is an advanced data assimilation or modeling tool that enables combining the observations and available information about the emission sources as a street level air quality map. The ENFUSER model developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute is an example of such a tool ( ENFUSER model data is currently available for the greater Helsinki area, Finland, which can serve as a pilot environment for the challenge.

When building your application you can utilize the local meteorological observations that are available through Finnish Meteorological Institute’s open data service online:

Other available data sources include:
- Tropomi data from the ESA Copernicus Open Access Hub:
- Real time ENFUSER model data for the greater Helsinki area is available through the CITYZER project data server. For access, please send an email to including the name, email address and telephone number of your contact person. You will then receive a user name and password for the service, as well as detailed documentation of the interface.

Vaisala is a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement. Building on over 80 years of experience, Vaisala provides observations for a better world. We are a reliable partner for customers around the world, offering a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services. Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs approximately 1,600 professionals worldwide and is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.

Vaisala would like to thank the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Helsinki Air Quality Testbed project, the CITYZER project and Sasken Finland Oy for making the local observation data available for this challenge.

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