IBM Expands Climate, Air Pollution Initiative Globally

by | Dec 9, 2015

IBM Green HorizonIBM Research is expanding its Green Horizons initiative globally to help city governments, utility companies and factories better understand and address pressing air pollution and climate change issues.

The Green Horizons initiative is based on innovations from IBM’s Research Laboratory in Beijing with contributions from leading environmental experts across IBM’s global network of research labs. It combines advanced cognitive computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies with big data analytics to help government and business make decisions that safeguard the health of citizens while also helping to protect the long-term health of the planet.

The expansion comes after a successful year-long collaboration with the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB). IBM’s China Research lab is working with the Beijing EPB to provide one of the world’s most advanced air quality forecasting and decision support systems. The system generates high-resolution pollution forecasts 72 hours in advance and pollution trend predictions up to 10 days into the future. It models and predicts the effects of weather on the flow and dispersal of pollutants as well as the airborne chemical reactions between weather and pollutant particles.

In the first three quarters of this year, the Beijing government was able to achieve a 20 percent reduction in ultra-fine particulate matter, bringing it closer to its goal of reducing PM 2.5 by 25 percent by 2017.

The new Green Horizons engagements include the following:

  • An agreement with the Delhi Dialogue Commission to understand the correlation between traffic patterns and air pollution in India’s capital and provide the government with scenario modeling to support more informed decision-making for cleaner air.
  • A pilot program with the City of Johannesburg and South Africa’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to model air pollution trends and quantify the effectiveness of the city’s intervention programs in support of Johannesburg’s air quality targets and long-term sustainable development.
  • Additional clean air projects in China with the EPB in Baoding (one of China’s most polluted cities) to support the city’s environmental transformation; the city of Zhangjiakou (host to the 2022 Winter Olympics) to improve air quality for the outdoor sporting event; and Xinjiang Province in northwest China.

The program is also delivering on its promise to help increase contributions of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources into national grids.

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