The researchers developed a geostatistical method that takes into account the space-time factor, something that had not been considered before.
The method, called functional krigging, can be applied not only to urban pollution and contamination, but also to other fields such as house pricing, according to Jose María Montero Lorenzo, the chief researcher for the study at the UCLM.
Pollution in cities is dependent on various spatial factors such as air currents and city design. In addition, the concentrations vary according to time of the day. The researchers used data from 27 monitoring stations, and thousands of time instants. To handle the huge dataset, which contains hourly data for a period of 9 years, the team represented the values as a function and used it as an input for the models.
In order to test whether the recent complains about the position of the pollution monitoring equipment from environmental groups are coherent, the team set up an observation network.
Montero explained that although stations should be located at specific places according to city plans, the reality is that the installations are not permitted. He claims that their system overcomes this problem, providing spatial modeling of an entire city.
Despite the huge interest from many international research centers, the system is still not acknowledged by Spanish officials.