Taiwan and Germany Work Together on Regional Atmospheric Pollutant Tracking


In collaboration with the Academia Sinica and a research team from the University of Bremen (UB) in Germany, the EPA will be monitoring air pollution in Taiwan and East Asia using research aircraft provided by the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), as part of the research project known as Effect of Megacities on the transport and transformation of pollutants on the Regional and Global scales (EMeRGe).

The effects of megacities on both regional air quality and climate change is considered a major topic in today’s atmospheric research. Hence, the UB organized EMeRGe, a research project on atmospheric physics and chemistry being executed with great precision. The aim is to investigate the transport and transformation of air pollutants from megacities and their impacts on atmospheric composition and air quality.

Taking this opportunity to collect and analyze scientific data, the EPA plans to set up a tracking system for plumes in central Taiwan to further explore the causes of air pollution. The EPA will also use ground-based tracers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with sampling equipment for this project.

According to the plan, the Taichung Power Plant, Mailiao Power Plant, and Taichung City Downtown will be releasing 3 types of perfluorinated compound (PFC) tracers. Fixed-wing UAVs carrying PFC sampling equipment will cruise between Taichung and Nantou at an altitude of either 300 or 500 meters to take samples. In downwind areas, a total of 12 UAVs will be taking samples simultaneously in Taichung and Nantou from various altitudes: 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 meters.

PM2.5 is currently the most highly discussed air pollutant in Taiwan for many reasons: its diverse sources, its complex chemical composition, and its transport that involves complicated physical and chemical reactions. Although experts and scholars in the field have spent years researching PM2.5, many questions still exist. Tracking the plumes of polluted air is fundamental to clarifying the sources of the pollution. By releasing tracers in the environment, the air quality impacts of pollutant emissions from specific sources can be better understood. The EPA plans to acquire plume tracking ability through this cooperation with the German research team, to give it another tool to diagnose air pollution sources and evaluate air quality.

Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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