Developing an early-warning system for air quality prediction and assessment of cities in China

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Expert Systems with Applications, 2017, 84 pp. 102 - 116
Issue Date:
2017-10-30
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Air quality has received continuous attention from both environmental managers and citizens. Accordingly, early-warning systems for air pollution are very useful tools to avoid negative health effects and develop effective prevention programs. However, developing robust early-warning systems is very challenging, as well as necessary. This paper develops a reliable and effective early-warning system that consists of air quality prediction and assessment modules. In the prediction module, a hybrid forecasting method is developed for predicting pollutant concentrations that effectively estimates future air quality conditions. In developing this proposed model, we suggest the use of a back propagation neural network algorithm, combined with a probabilistic parameter model and data preprocessing techniques, to address the uncertainties involved in future air quality prediction. Meanwhile, a pre-analysis is implemented, primarily by using optimized distribution functions to examine and analyze statistical characteristics and emission behaviors of air pollutants. The second method, which is developed as part of the second module, is based on fuzzy set theory and the Analytic Hierarchy Process, and it performs air quality assessments to provide a clear and intelligible description of air quality conditions. Using data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China and six stages of air quality classification levels, specifically good, moderate, lightly polluted, moderately polluted, heavily polluted and severely polluted, two cities in China, Chengdu and Hangzhou, are used as illustrative examples to verify the effectiveness of the developed early-warning system. The results demonstrate that the proposed methods are effective and reliable for use by environmental supervisors in air pollution monitoring and management.
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