Raindrops form around tiny particles of dust or pollutants, so pollution can affect rainfall patterns and even lead to flooding. But such impacts can be hard to forecast as pollutants absorb water at different rates and pollution levels vary with height. Conventional ground-based air pollution monitoring struggles to accurately capture this.
Now researchers at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, have built a 110 metre tower and a robot that climbs up and down the structure to monitor pollution and weather conditions at different heights. The robot analyses greenhouse gases as well as measuring the concentration of microscopic particles. The data is then used to model weather patterns. Scientists are confident this will improve forecast accuracy.
Surat Bualert, dean of the Environment Faculty at Kasetsart University, shows how the robot works, and explains why rainfall predictions are crucial for those living in the developing world.
This article was produced by SciDev.Net's Global Edition.
Robot monitors Thai pollution from a height
Giovanni Ortolani, Paola Di Bella