Updates from Environmental Experts

Better Than Expected? Air Quality Forecast for MWC 2018 Barcelona

Ran Korber
Barcelona live air pollution map forecast

You're heading to MWC 2018 in Barcelona this week, to see the latest gadgets, trends, and tech, and just like the weather, you remember to check the air quality. What do you expect?

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the biggest mobile event in the world, where electronics giants like Samsung, Sony and Huawei launch their latest products.

Over 100,000 people attended the show in Barcelona, Spain in 2017 (including 3 from BreezoMeter) and this year's event is expected to be even bigger when it kicks off today.

The most talked about announcements at MWC are usually the new phone launches, and this year we also expect to see many new innovations in Artificial intelligence (AI), Virtual and augmented reality world, as well as IoT and connected products.

Air pollution and pollen in Barcelona: What's the status?

To answer this questions, BreezoMeter’s air quality forecast takes into consideration many variables such as location, weather, traffic, and more. Let's take a look.

Location, Location, Location:

As air quality is very local and changes from one street to another, it is very important to take into account the vicinity of the MWC venue. MWC 2018 will once again take place at Fira Gran Via with selected events, including 4YFN, taking place at Fira Montjuïc. These areas are very close to the Barcelona city center which is known for its intense traffic congestion during the day, especially during rush hour traffic.

This is no surprise since with a population of 1.6 million within the city limits (and around around 4.7 million people in the Province of Barcelona) Barcelona is the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, Madrid, the Ruhr area and Milan.

Barcelona map 25 feb1400 live air map.png

This is how the air quality in the looked on Sunday afternoon as seen on the air pollution heat-map overlay, produced by BreezoMeter. The air quality in the MWC venue area is moderate due the traffic congestion Barcelona experiences. This means that people with health sensitivities such as Asthma should be prepared for minor respiratory difficulties if they are outdoors for more than an hour. These are actually very common air pollution levels during the working hours in this area of Barcelona, as it is the central business district of the city. This phenomenon is not likely to decrease soon, since currently car pool services such as Uber are forbidden in Barcelona.

The air quality history tab on the right-hand side is shows that the air quality in Barcelona had dipped lower leading up to Sunday, with levels as low the low 40's on the 1-100 standardized air quality index that BreezoMeter uses worldwide. Learn more about the BAQI.

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What will you be breathing in Barcelona during MWC 2018?

As an exhibitor for the previous 2 years at MWC, I can tell you firsthand that during the week of MWC, the city is packed. It is almost mission impossible to flag down a taxi, not mention finding an available table at a restaurant or place at a tapas bar. As Barcelona welcomes another 100,000 visitors during MWC, the expectation might be that the air quality will be even worse. When so many extra people descend on a city, congestion increases and vehicular exhaust pollutes the city's streets even more. However, there is good news for you and your health, thanks to Mother Nature. There are rain clouds over Barcelona, and most of this week the weather forecasts rain showers that will wash most of those fine particles out of the air, to create much better air quality levels.

Air quality history Fira Barcelona Gran Via.pngUpdate: The air quality improved after the rain.Barcelona live air pollution map forecast

Air quality in Barcelona on February 26, 13:00 PM (Barcelona time) as seen by BreezoMeter. Forecast looks good!

According to air pollution research, the Barcelona area during non-rainy days has episodic events for PM2.5 and PM10 which can increase the average concentration by up to 30%, mainly because of stagnant air masses formed because of low temperatures and low wind speeds during the current season. On the other hand, according to BreezoMeter forecast, this week, due to the rain, the PM 2.5 levels are expected to drop even below the average air quality levels at this season. This is defintely good news for the 100,000 visitors at MWC who just need to remember to take their umbrella instead of gas masks.

The anticipated rain will also wash the pollen out of the air which is also good news for those who suffer from allergies to grass.

For more details on the air quality forecast, and real-time air quality levels of air quality and pollen, check our air pollution dashboard.

check air pollution map

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