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Controls on hourly variations in urban background air pollutant concentrations

AuthorsMoreno, Teresa ; Lavín, Javier; Querol, Xavier ; Alastuey, Andrés ; Viana, Mar ; Gibbons, Wes
KeywordsUrban air pollution
Transient concentration peaks
Cardiorespiratory health effects
Issue Date2-Jun-2009
CitationAtmospheric Environment (2009), doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.05.041 (In press)
AbstractAverage 21st century concentrations of urban air pollutants linked to cardiorespiratory disease are not declining, and commonly exceed legal limits. Even below such limits, health effects are being observed and may be related to transient daytime peaks in pollutant concentrations. With this in mind, we analyse >52,000 hourly urban background readings of PM10 and pollutant gases throughout 2007 at a European town with legal annual average concentrations of common pollutants, but with a documented air pollution-related cardiorespiratory health problem, and demonstrate the hourly variations in PM10, SO2, NOx, CO and O3. Back-trajectory analysis was applied to track the arrival of exotic PM10 intrusions, the main controls on air pollutants were identified, and the typical hourly pattern on ambient concentrations during 2007 was profiled. Emphasis was placed on “worst case” data (>90th percentile), when health effects are likely to be greatest. The data show marked daytime variations in pollutants result from rush-hour traffic-related pollution spikes, midday industrial SO2 maxima, and afternoon O3 peaks. African dust intrusions enhance PM10 levels at whatever hour, whereas European PM incursions produce pronounced evening peaks due to their transport direction (across an industrial traffic corridor). Transient peak profiling moves us closer to the reality of personal outdoor exposure to inhalable pollutants in a given urban area. We argue that such an approach to monitoring data potentially offers more to air pollution health effect studies than using only 24 hr or annual averages.
DescriptionArticle in press.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.05.041
Appears in Collections:(IDAEA) Artículos
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