Wet weather means a breath of fresh air for Olympic athletes
Published: 09 Aug 2012
It is believed that the dreadful summer of weather experienced in the UK could actually benefit Olympic athletes and spectators. Scientists monitoring pollution levels around London reckon that the wet conditions could have given us one of the least polluted Games in history.
"Put simply, the reason the air quality is so good is because the weather has been so bad this summer," explained Dr Grant Allen from the University of Manchester. "The areas of low pressure have left us with very clean air, unusually clean for summer months over the UK."
In an attempt to establish what happens to urban pollution and where it goes, the University of Manchester Atmospheric Scientists have been monitoring air and ground pollution levels over the past two years as part of a project called Clearflo (Clean Air for London). Early results have shown that lengthy periods of low pressure have meant that pollution has not settled over the capital but instead has been moved offshore.
To enable people to access instant information about air pollution during the Olympics, scientists at King's College London have developed a free London Air app that provides a map of the Olympic venues and tells you how clear (or polluted) the air is.
Dr Gary Fuller from the Environmental Research Group at King's College London, said, "The effects of air pollution on athletes came to the fore during the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and has remained on the Olympic agenda ever since."
Steve Ovett at the 1984 Los Angeles Games blamed air pollution when he collapsed after the 800m final, with an asthma attack. In Beijing, the city closed factories and banned cars from the roads every other day in order to improve air quality.
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