People, Environment

Tehran Air Quality Forecasting System Launched

Tehran Air Quality Forecasting System LaunchedTehran Air Quality Forecasting System Launched

An air quality forecasting system has been launched by Tehran Air Quality Control Company, a subsidiary of Tehran Municipality, to help predict air quality and concentration of pollutants in the Iranian capital.

According to Vahid Hosseini, director of the company, the system is the culmination of a three-year project that included collection and analyses of climatic patterns and data.

"First of its kind in Iran, the forecasting system is capable of predicting air quality three days in advance," he said. "Of course, the forecast for the first day has the highest accuracy."

The information is provided through diagrams, showing the air quality level based on the World Health Organization's air quality index (AQI) standard, dividing conditions to excellent (0-50), good (51-100), lightly polluted (101-150), moderately polluted (151-200) and heavily polluted (201-300).

The data is publicly available on

"The system can help forecast the density of pollutants as well as meteorological conditions, such as wind field pattern and speed. The forecasting model provides sufficient data to facilitate decision and policymaking by the authorities," Hosseini said.

Tehran experienced heavy smog and pollution last week, which officials attribute to a weather phenomenon known as temperature inversion: a condition wherein cold air underpins warm air at higher altitude, leading to the entrapment of air pollutants in the city, which causes smog.

Schools were closed and children, pregnant women and the elderly were encouraged to remain indoors.

Thanks to an expected rainfall and an even more surprising spate of snowfall at the beginning of the week, not to mention a long weekend, air quality has improved considerably in Tehran, although experts do not expect it to remain so.

Iran's struggle with air pollution costs its people $30 billion a year—nearly double the $16 billion reported by WHO in 2014. With 26,000 annual deaths due to air pollution, the country ranks 16th in terms of air pollution-related deaths.

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