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2001-2012 trends on air quality in Spain

AuthorsQuerol, Xavier CSIC ORCID ; Alastuey, Andrés CSIC ORCID; Pandolfi, Marco; Reche, Cristina CSIC ORCID; Perez, Noemi; Minguillón, María Cruz CSIC ORCID ; Moreno, Teresa CSIC ORCID ; Viana, Mar CSIC ORCID ; Escudero, Miguel CSIC; Orio, Alberto; Pallarés, María; Reina, Francisco
KeywordsAir quality policy
Time trends
Issue Date15-Aug-2014
CitationScience of The Total Environment 490: 957–969 (2014)
AbstractThis study aims at interpreting the 2001-2012 trends of major air pollutants in Spain, with a major focus on evaluating their relationship with those of the national emission inventories (NEI) and policy actions. Marked downward concentration trends were evidenced for PM10, PM2.5 and CO. Concentrations of NO2 and NOx also declined but in a lesser proportion at rural and traffic sites. At rural sites O-3 has been kept constant, whereas it clearly increased at urban and industrial sites. Comparison of the air quality trends and major inflection points with those from NEIs, the National Energy Consumption and the calendar of the implementation of major policy actions allowed us to clearly identify major benefits of European directives on power generation and industrial sources (such as the Large Combustion Plants and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directives). This, together with a sharp 2007-2008 decrease of coal consumption has probably caused the marked parallel decline of SO2, NOx and for PM2.5 concentrations. Also the effect of the EURO 4 and 5 vehicle emission standards on decreasing emissions of PM and CO from vehicles is noticeable. The smooth decline in NO2-NOx levels is mostly attributed to the low efficiency of EURO 4 and 5 standards in reducing real life urban driving NO2 emissions. The low NOx decrease together with the complexity of the reactions of O-3 formation is responsible for the constant O-3 concentrations, or even the urban increase. The financial crisis has also contributed to the decrease of the ambient concentration of pollutants; however this caused a major reduction of the primary energy consumption from 2008 to 2009, and not from 2007 to 2008 when ambient air PM and SO2 sharply decreased. The meteorological influence was characterized by a 2008-2012 period favorable to the dispersion of pollutants when compared to the 2001-2007. (C) 2014 Published by Elsevier B.V.
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