By on May 24, 2011

According to one car guy, global warming is a crock of excrement. Toyota wants to get to the bottom of it. Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Central R&D Labs have developed a simulator able to predict tropospheric ozone concentrations across the whole of South and East Asia. The project was carried out in collaboration with Tsinghua University in China, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in India, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. The simulator is expected to help in the reduction of energy consumption and limit emissions that cause atmospheric pollution — one factor in global warming.

The ozone layer in the stratosphere (starting at a height of approximately 10 km) is fairly well known. It protects the earth’s ecosystem by absorbing ultraviolet rays.  Less known is the ozone in the troposphere, which extends to approximately 10 km above the earth’s surface. The tropospheric ozone is said to be the main cause of photochemical smog, an atmospheric pollutant harmful to human health and plant growth.

Predicting tropospheric ozone concentrations is difficult. And that’s where Toyota’s simulator comes in. It takes as inputs the current and projected energy consumption, along with CO2, NOx, and VOC emissions and meteorological conditions. It then builds a three-dimensional air quality model that predicts tropospheric ozone concentrations.

According to Toyota, “the main benefit of the simulator is the ability to comprehensively investigate policies needed for tropospheric ozone reduction, CO2 reduction scenarios and atmospheric improvement scenarios.”

We have smuggled a 2D demo out of the secret Toyota labs. It’s a PowerPoint. It uses old data. At the top, it says something like “Example of Ozone Concentration Prediction.” Set it in motion by “View Slideshow” (or F5) and you’ll see why I am having qualms about going back to Beijing in two weeks. But hey, it’s 2005 data.

The real thing will be demonstrated on May 26 and 27 at a workshop at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. Let’s hope there will be less red in the clouds moving around in the troposphere.


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9 Comments on “Introducing Toyota’s Tropospheric Ozone-Concentration Simulator. Eat Your Heart Out, Bob Lutz...”

  • avatar

    Of course the existence of a simulator doesn’t necessarily mean it’s real. Simulators do what they have been programmed to do and mother nature may not follow that programming.

    • 0 avatar

      All models are wrong, some are useful – George Box

      At least Toyota isn’t trying to predict everything about earth’s climate for the next century.

  • avatar

    This is off-topic, but has anyone heard from or seen obbop on here? From his vague descriptions of where he lives, I think it is southern Missouri. What do you guys think?

    • 0 avatar

      Obbop was on another thread yesterday – he’s O.K. The storm passed south of him, according to his description. I think he lives north of Joplin. Not sure about subsequent storms that went and are hitting the general area, though. Probably lost power for awhile. The old coot’s tough, though!

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Grew up in SE Kansas near Joplin. A friend from high school works at St. Johns hospital and was scheduled to work the night the tornado hit. She traded shifts with a coworker and missed the event. The destruction is unfortunately typical, but it’s very unusual to have this many deaths from a tornado.

    • 0 avatar

      Glad to hear obbop’s ok.

  • avatar
    George B

    Bertel, you’ve conflated real makes your eyes burn and lungs hurt ground level ozone pollution from photochemical smog, beneficial concentration of ozone in the stratosphere, and the concentration of CO2, atmospheric plant food, with effects that are in dispute. Attempts to predict ground level ozone pollution are no more controversial than attempting to predict the weather. The models may get it wrong, but even an incomplete warning of bad atmospheric conditions is better than no warning at all.

    At this point I think there is general agreement the pollution control equipment added to cars to greatly reduce their contribution to photochemical smog is a good thing. In the United States, engine horsepower has never been higher while vehicle emissions of real pollution have never been lower. I make more pollution pumping gas and mowing my yard than I do driving my car. Probably time to question how many more decades old coal fired power plants will continue to be grandfathered and when small engines will finally get emissions control systems.

    Current ground level ozone levels in Texas.

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