Climate Resilience

Gentle-sounding in name, Tropical Cyclone Pam was certainly not to be underestimated. As is so often the case, the weather’s random acts of terror hit the most vulnerable hardest. Vanuatu crumpled under Pam’s weight: crops were uprooted, livestock killed, and buildings flattened. She serves as yet another reminder of how fierce and unpredictable extreme weather events can be.

As the global climate continues to change, the frequency and intensity of these events is likely to increase. A report by the World Bank estimates that, by 2030, 325 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia could be trapped in poverty and at even greater risk of meteorological catastrophes [1]. But however disobedient the climate may be, steps can be taken to mitigate its effects. Increasing climate resilience, a buzzword in development parlance, is paramount in this respect. Climate services must be expanded and awareness raised at both local and national levels. In doing so, countries will be better equipped to deal with such catastrophes, helping to alleviate poverty, reduce costs and encourage more prosperous, sustainable living.

More effective dissemination of climate information and services is crucial to improving climate resilience. Meteorology is playing an increasingly important role in policymaking and should be integrated into both national and local infrastructure. Agriculture, water resources, health, aviation and tourism are but a small selection of weather-dependent sectors. Neglecting their meteorological ties is a threat to both human life and economic development.

Overcoming the data scarcity in underdeveloped areas is a formidable but essential task. Weather information – both past and present – allows for the creation of climate models, forecasts and early-warning systems, all of which are vital for improving disaster preparedness. For farmers, climate knowledge promotes more effective use of land and resources, thereby increasing food security. And for the economy, it allows weather-dependent sectors to go about their business in a safer, more effective manner, in many cases, bringing them into line with international standards – a prerequisite for industries such as aviation.

The benefits of developing meteorological services are plenty, but near impossible to implement without sufficient funding. The African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), a joint initiative of the WMO and the African Union Commission, is working at the very highest levels to develop a workable meteorological strategy for Africa. The intention is not only to increase sensor coverage but also to provide adequate training in the use of data. A number of charities are working on similar projects.

From a manufacturer’s point of view, having contributed to projects of this nature, we have noted a preference for older, time-tested and more accessible sensor technology in these areas. In many cases, particularly in remote farming communities where weather information is largely unavailable, there must be a suitable interface in place between providers and users of meteorological data. If it is not received in a timely manner or presented in a language and format that is understandable, its relevance is severely diminished. Ideally, projects should aim to supplement traditional farming methods with scientific data from locally managed weather-measuring equipment. The Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), to name one example, is working together with small communities, providing them with basic weather instruments to help improve productivity [2]. Data gleaned from these instruments is then used to create localised forecasts and climate predictions. The Met Office in the UK operates similar schemes elsewhere [3].

Crowdsourcing data in this way is an extremely good method of empowering smallholder farmers and spreading vital meteorological knowledge. It encourages transparency and collaboration, is mutually beneficial, and continues to honour traditional farming techniques, whilst combining them with important advances in modern science.

by Edmund Daley

[1] ‘Building Resilience: Integrating Climate and Disaster Risk Into Development’, iii.

[2] ‘Traditional Forecasting Meets Science for Climate Risk Management’

[3] ‘How Climate Science Advances are Helping the Developing World’

Intelligent Pendulum

Munro has long maintained an interest in slip resistance. With over fifteen years’ experience manufacturing the British Pendulum Tester, the company has made significant contributions to research and development in this field. It is with great excitement, therefore, that we announce the release of the Intelligent Pendulum – the world’s very first digitized slip resistance tester.

First developed by Percy Sigler in the 1940s, the Pendulum Tester helped demonstrate the effect of liquid on surface slip resistance. During the late 1950s, the instrument was adopted and redesigned by the UK Transport Research Laboratory. Although the mechanics of the instrument remain fundamentally unchanged, Munro Instruments has continually refined and improved the original design. As the only instrument to accurately reproduce the hydrodynamic uplift characteristics of a slipping foot, the Pendulum has become an international standard for slip resistance measurements and is recommended for use by the UK Slip Resistance Group (UKSRG) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) [1].

A 2014 report by the HSE found slips and trips to be the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces, with over 22,000 cases reported in the UK alone [2]. Over half of these resulted in injuries lasting seven days or more and around one-third in major but non-fatal injuries. Claims arising from these are estimated to cost employers around £512 million per year, while health services are set back by a cool £133 million [3]. Workers in the construction, manufacturing healthcare, transport and storage industries are particularly susceptible to accidents of this kind.

Assessing the slip resistance of flooring is vitally important to help reduce the accident rate, along with any associated costs. The 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act requires that employers take all steps possible to protect workers and to eliminate any potential risks. Similar legislation can be found in countries across the world.

Floor slip resistance testing is also an invaluable tool when investigating the cause of accidents. This may be to prevent future accidents or for litigation purposes.

Building on the trusted mechanical design of the older instrument, the new Munro Intelligent Pendulum will greatly simplify the testing process. Results will appear automatically on an OLED digital display, removing the onus of manual data checking. These will then be sent via Bluetooth to our proprietary slip resistance software, giving users the opportunity to generate instant reports. All historical data is fully retrievable, and additional fields are provided to ensure test reports are drawn up as thoroughly as possible. In addition, the software/reports can be personalized to provide bespoke reports suited to each individual user and their clients.

Munro Instruments takes a great deal of pride in producing equipment of the very highest quality. The Intelligent Pendulum is manufactured at our premises in London, using high-grade, durable materials. As with our Portable Skid Resistance Tester, the Intelligent Pendulum is carefully calibrated, providing users with an absolute assurance of accuracy. If desired, the instrument can be sent to the British Standards Institute (BSI) for certification, adding even greater security to test results.

To find out more about the Intelligent Pendulum’s improved functionality, visit the product page.

by Edmund Daley

[1] The UK Slip Resistance Group Guidelines, Issue 4.0, September 2011, p. 6.

[2] Slips, Trips and Falls from Height in Great Britain, 2014

[3] Slips, Trips and Falls

Solar Radiation Sensors

Munro Instruments is pleased to unveil its full range of solar radiation sensors. As oil, gas and coal come under ever greater scrutiny, the need for accurate solar monitoring capabilities is now more urgent than ever. The Munro range covers all solar applications, including cell research, feasibility studies for site selection, module development and meteorological observation.

Spectroradiometers measure solar irradiance. They are used to determine the properties and characteristics of a light source at each wavelength, helping the user to understand the behaviour and energy distribution of the light. All our spectroradiometers have advanced temperature stability and can be placed out in the field whatever the conditions. This makes them ideal for long term monitoring in harsh environments.

Pyranometers are used to measure diffuse solar irradiation. This is a measurement of solar radiation that has been scattered by molecules and particles in the air. Pyrheliometers, by contrast, are used to measure direct normal irradiance. These are generally used in conjunction with a sun tracker in order to follow the exact movement of the sun.

All these sensors are essential to the solar industry. We are extremely excited and enthusiastic to support this all-important sector. More information about individual products can be found on our website.

by Ashish Acharya

Air Quality Management

Historically, the Munro environmental range has focused on gravimetric air samplers for time-weighted air quality measurements. We are extremely proud that a number of our products are relied upon daily to support the nuclear energy sector.

We are building on these foundations and expanding our range to become a total solution provider for all our clients’ air quality management needs.

Over the course of this year, we will be modernising and streamlining our gravimetric air sampler range and their range of applications. In addition, we will be improving their functionality, performance and ergonomics. For example, our AS200 Personal Air Sampler will be reduced in size and weight and have an integrated data output. Watch this space for more information.

We have also added real-time air monitoring to our diverse product portfolio. In January, we launched the Particle Sense Series. The first in the series, the P600, measures airborne particulate concentrations (PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and TSP) and can be optionally integrated with range of additional meteorological sensors if required. It is small and lightweight, making it suitable for both portable and permanent installations. A compact lamppost box can be provided for long-term air quality studies. The system exports data wirelessly at user-defined intervals and will inform the user when exceedance levels are met. The P600 measures particulates using a light scattering principle and is currently undergoing the Environmental Agency’s MCERTS certification process.

Later in March, we will be adding a lightweight handheld particulate monitor to the Particle Sense series. This will give an instant indication of air quality, allowing users to make quick-fire decisions. It will also be useful for pre-assessments to determine whether a more in-depth air quality assessment needs to be carried out or not.

Real-time air monitoring allows users to see instant variations in air quality, helping them to make informed decisions relating to workers’ health and safety. It can also be used for outdoor air pollution studies to monitor changes over time and in differing conditions.

Understandably, the EU is pushing for cleaner outdoor air and, last year, threatened the UK with court action for breaching air quality standards. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is particularly problematic. The rise in NO2 levels are related to the increasing number of diesel vehicles on the roads. Diesels are known to generate considerably more NO2 in comparison to petrol and also release dangerous levels of unburnt carbon compounds. It is estimated that air pollution causes around 30,000 premature deaths as a result of cancer and respiratory and heart-related complications.

Real-time air monitoring networks help us all make informed decisions about how we make our journeys. They also tell us where the pollution hot spots (particularly important if travelling with children). London Air is a useful tool to help us monitor air quality. It’s free to use and can be downloaded as an app on your phone. If any zones are particularly high, it will send out notifications to warn you so that alternative routes can be taken. The London Air website can be found here.

In addition to our real-time air monitors, we are pleased to announce that we also provide air purification solutions for both commercial and domestic applications. We have joined forces with US company CosaTron Inc., which specialises in the removal of dangerous, hard-to-catch submicron particles (ranging from 0.1-10 microns in size). Unlike other purification systems, CosaTron’s systems do not ionize the air or create CO2 or Ozone as a by-product. CosaTron technology removes ultra-fine particles by accelerating the process of coagulation, increasing their size and trapping them in ventilation systems for safe removal at a later date. CosaTron systems can be used in HVAC systems of any geometry.

We are extremely happy to be representing CosaTron in the UK and Europe and hope this collaboration will help to beat the problem of bad air quality.

by Paul Scott