Air Pollution at the Urban and Regional Level: Sources, Sinks, and Transportation

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 August 2022) | Viewed by 30109

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National institute of meteorology and hydrology, Department" Meteorology", 66, Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd, 1784 Sofia, Bulgaria
Interests: air pollution; air particulate matter; airborne black carbon; source apportionment; precipitation chemistry
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Institute for Nuclear Reseast (ATOMKI), 4026 Debrecen, Hungary
Interests: atmospheric pollution; airborne particulate matter; elemental analysis; source apportionment
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Institute of Nuclear & Radiological Science & Technology, Energy & Safety, NCSR "Demokritos", 15310 Athens, Greece
Interests: aerosol chemistry and microphysics; particulate matter; air quality; exposure assessment; nanoparticle technology; GHGs
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is the 10th greatest risk factor for human health. Critical loads and levels of pollutant concentrations are air quality markers for assessing the risk of air pollution impacts to ecosystems. The residence time of pollutants in the atmosphere can extend from several days to months, and the corresponding spatial transportation scales are proportionally large, ranging from local to continental. Emissions from industrial activities, energy production, transport, and waste management activities, as well as natural sources, contribute to various air pollution problems, including reduced visibility, health effects, acid rain, and deposition of nutrients and toxic substances. Urban areas are considered hotspots of air pollution, especially large and densely populated metropolitan areas. Various pollutants, both gaseous and particulate, contribute to the deterioration of atmospheric quality. 

The aim of this Special Issue is to gather up-to-date research knowledge aiming at assessing air pollution at the urban and regional level, including both experimental and monitoring studies and mathematical/numerical modeling studies. The issue will focus on source apportionment of particulate air pollutants, their trends, deposition sinks, and inter-urban and regional transport. Additionally, the issue will cover all major aspects of urban aerosol observations, including particulate matter chemical characterization and human exposure assessment.

Dr. Elena Hristova
Dr. Manousos Ioannis Manousakas
Dr. Anikó Angyal
Dr. Maria Gini
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Air pollutants
  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Particulate matter chemical characterization
  • Long-range transport
  • Wet deposition
  • Source apportionment
  • Air pollution modelling
  • Air quality impact on health

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 182 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue: Air Pollution at the Urban and Regional Level: Sources, Sinks, and Transportation
by Elena Svilenova Hristova and Manousos Ioannis Manousakas
Atmosphere 2023, 14(1), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14010132 - 7 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1330
Abstract
Air pollution poses a significant risk to human health [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

14 pages, 8696 KiB  
Article
PM2.5 Source Apportionment and Implications for Particle Hygroscopicity at an Urban Background Site in Athens, Greece
by Evangelia Diapouli, Prodromos Fetfatzis, Pavlos Panteliadis, Christina Spitieri, Maria I. Gini, Stefanos Papagiannis, Vasiliki Vasilatou and Konstantinos Eleftheriadis
Atmosphere 2022, 13(10), 1685; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13101685 - 14 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1491
Abstract
Aerosol hygroscopicity is a key aerosol property, influencing a number of other physical properties, and the impacts of PM pollution on the environment, climate change, and health. The present work aims to provide insight into the contribution of major PM sources to aerosol [...] Read more.
Aerosol hygroscopicity is a key aerosol property, influencing a number of other physical properties, and the impacts of PM pollution on the environment, climate change, and health. The present work aims to provide insight into the contribution of major PM sources to aerosol hygroscopicity, focusing on an urban background site, with a significant impact from both primary and secondary sources. The EPA PMF 5.0 model was applied to PM2.5 chemical composition and hygroscopicity data collected from August 2016 to July 2017 in Athens, Greece. Source apportionment analysis resulted in six major sources, including four anthropogenic sources (vehicular exhaust and non-exhaust, heavy oil combustion, and a mixed source of secondary aerosol formation and biomass burning) and two natural sources (mineral dust and aged sea salt). The mixed source was found to be the main contributor to PM2.5 levels (44%), followed by heavy oil combustion (26%) and vehicular traffic exhaust and non-exhaust emissions (15%). The aerosol hygroscopic growth factor (GF) was found to be mainly associated with the mixed source (by 36%) and heavy oil combustion (by 24%) and, to a lesser extent, with vehicle exhaust (by 19%), aged sea salt (by 14%), and vehicle non-exhaust (by 6%). Full article
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14 pages, 2396 KiB  
Article
Scenario Analysis of Air Quality Improvement in Warsaw, Poland, by the End of the Current Decade
by Piotr Holnicki, Andrzej Kałuszko and Zbigniew Nahorski
Atmosphere 2022, 13(10), 1613; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13101613 - 2 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1801
Abstract
Very low air quality in the Warsaw conurbation, Poland, similarly to the case in many large European cities, poses a serious threat to the residents’ health, being a significant source of premature mortality. Many results presented in earlier publications indicated local heating installations [...] Read more.
Very low air quality in the Warsaw conurbation, Poland, similarly to the case in many large European cities, poses a serious threat to the residents’ health, being a significant source of premature mortality. Many results presented in earlier publications indicated local heating installations and car traffic as the main emission categories responsible for this adverse population exposure, where the dominant polluting compounds are NOx, PM10, PM2.5, and BaP. The last two mainly originate from individual household heating installations, both in the city of Warsaw and in its vicinity. To reduce the health risk of air pollution, the city authorities have recently made fundamental decisions, related to the individual housing sector, aimed at the radical decarbonization of all heating installations in Warsaw and its surroundings. On the other hand, the ongoing modernization of the city’s car fleet (including individual and public transport), taking into account the restrictive EU emission standards, as well as the quickly growing share of electric and hybrid cars (BEVs and PHEVs), gives a good prospect of a fundamental improvement in air quality in Warsaw conurbation. The main subject of the paper is a quantitative assessment of the air quality improvement in the current decade (by 2030), resulting from the above modernization activities. The final results are expressed as the attributed reduction in population exposure, which was found to be 28–30% with respect to NOx and PM, and the associated health risk, i.e., 204 fewer avoidable deaths with respect to NOx and 607 fewer with respect to PM2.5. Full article
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11 pages, 3274 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of Ozone Pollution in Tai’an and Topographic Effects of Mount Tai
by Yanzhen Ge, Chunqiang Chen, Yaping Jiang, Tongsuo Yang, Hongyang Kang, Jingzhong Li, Xinran Zhao, Yibo Zhang, Mengying Li, Tangyan Hou, Jianmin Chen and Shaocai Yu
Atmosphere 2022, 13(8), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13081299 - 16 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1808
Abstract
Through the analyses of the observed concentrations of ozone (O3) in Tai’an from 2016 to 2021, the results show that O3 pollution was relatively serious, with the mean concentrations of the 90th percentile of daily maximum 8-h O3 (O [...] Read more.
Through the analyses of the observed concentrations of ozone (O3) in Tai’an from 2016 to 2021, the results show that O3 pollution was relatively serious, with the mean concentrations of the 90th percentile of daily maximum 8-h O3 (O3-8h-90per) above 180 μg/m3. O3 pollution in Tai’an mainly occurred from May to September, accounting for 69%~100% of the total O3 pollution days, of which the most serious pollution occurred in June. Combined with the analyses of temperature, humidity, and wind speeds, the probability of O3 exceedances in Tai’an increased significantly under the conditions with the temperatures higher than 30 °C, the relative humidity of 20%~40%, and the wind speeds of 1~3 m/s. The dominant wind directions on O3 pollution days in Tai’an were southerly winds, based on the analyses of wind directions and their clustering trajectories. Based on the results at three monitoring stations at different distances from Mount Tai from May to September in 2021, the average O3 concentrations at the Renkou School station near the mountain was about 13~15 μg/m3 higher than those at the other two stations (Dianli College and Shandong First Medical University) which are far away from the mountain, indicating that the Renkou School site was more affected by the obstruction of the mountain. In addition, the WRF-CMAQ model was used to simulate ten O3 pollution events in 2021, showing that the average O3 concentrations in Tai’an were reduced by 1.7~7.5 μg/m3 after changing the topographic height of Mount Tai. Full article
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20 pages, 8245 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of Resuspended Road Dust with Traffic and Atmospheric Environment in South Korea
by Sungjin Hong, Hojun Yoo, Jeongyeon Cho, Gyumin Yeon and Intai Kim
Atmosphere 2022, 13(8), 1215; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13081215 - 1 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1559
Abstract
Characterizing the influencing factors of resuspended dust on paved roads according to the atmospheric environment and traffic conditions is important to provide a basis for road atmospheric pollution control measures suitable for various road environments in the future. This study attempts to identify [...] Read more.
Characterizing the influencing factors of resuspended dust on paved roads according to the atmospheric environment and traffic conditions is important to provide a basis for road atmospheric pollution control measures suitable for various road environments in the future. This study attempts to identify factors in the concentration of resuspended dust according to the level of road dust loading and PM10 emission characteristics according to atmospheric weather environment and traffic conditions using real-time vehicle-based resuspended PM10 concentration measuring equipment. This study mainly focuses on the following main topics: (1) the increased level of resuspended dust according to vehicle speed and silt loading (sL) level; (2) difference between atmospheric pollution at adjacent monitoring station concentration and background concentration levels on roads due to atmospheric weather changes; (3) the correlation between traffic and weather factors with resuspended dust levels; (4) the evaluation of resuspended dust levels by road section. Based on the results, the necessity of research to more appropriately set the focus of analysis in order to characterize the resuspended dust according to changes in the traffic and weather environment in urban areas is presented. Full article
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27 pages, 8043 KiB  
Article
Impact of Land Use on Atmospheric Particulate Matter Concentrations: A Case Study of the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Region, China
by Haoran Zhai, Jiaqi Yao, Guanghui Wang and Xinming Tang
Atmosphere 2022, 13(3), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13030391 - 26 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2227
Abstract
The increasing frequency of human activities has accelerated changes in land use types and consequently affected the atmospheric environment. In this manuscript, we analyze the relationships between the particulate matter concentration and land use changes in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region, China, from 2015 [...] Read more.
The increasing frequency of human activities has accelerated changes in land use types and consequently affected the atmospheric environment. In this manuscript, we analyze the relationships between the particulate matter concentration and land use changes in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region, China, from 2015 to 2018. The experimental results indicate that (1) an improved sine function model can suitably fit the periodic changes in the particulate matter concentration, with the average R2 value increasing to 0.65 from the traditional model value of 0.49, while each model coefficient effectively estimates the change characteristics of each stage. (2) Among all land use types, the particulate matter concentrations in construction land and farmland are high, with a large annual difference between high and low values. The concentration decreases slowly in spring and summer but increases rapidly in autumn and winter. The concentrations in forestland and grassland are the lowest; the difference between high and low values is small for these land use types, and the concentration fluctuation pattern is relatively uniform. Natural sources greatly influence the concentration fluctuations, among which frequent dusty weather conditions in spring impose a greater influence on forestland and grassland than on the other land use types. (3) The landscape pattern of land use exerts a significant influence on the particulate matter concentration. Generally, the lower the aggregation degree of patches is, the higher the fragmentation degree is, the more complex the shape is, the higher the landscape abundance is, and the lower the particulate matter concentration is. The higher the construction land concentration is, the more easily emission sources can be aggregated to increase the particulate matter concentration. However, when forestland areas are suitably connected, this land use type can play a notable role in inhibiting particulate matter concentration aggravation. This conclusion is of great relevance to urban land use planning and sustainable development. Full article
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13 pages, 1034 KiB  
Article
Impact of the Restaurant Chimney Emissions on the Outdoor Air Quality
by Mahmoud Fathy ElSharkawy and Osama Ahmed Ibrahim
Atmosphere 2022, 13(2), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13020261 - 3 Feb 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5997
Abstract
The emission of cooking fumes becomes a serious concern due to the fast development of the restaurant business because it harms the health of restaurant workers and customers and damages the outdoor air quality. This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of [...] Read more.
The emission of cooking fumes becomes a serious concern due to the fast development of the restaurant business because it harms the health of restaurant workers and customers and damages the outdoor air quality. This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of restaurant emissions on ambient air quality. Twenty restaurants with four different types of food cooking were selected in Dammam City, which represents a densely populated urban city in Saudi Arabia. Levels of five air pollutants were simultaneously measured in the restaurants’ chimneys and in the surrounding ambient air. The highest mean levels of CO (64.8 ± 44.3 ppm), CO2 (916.7 ± 463.4 ppm), VOCs (105.1 ± 61.3 ppm), NO2 (4.2 ± 2.4 ppm), and SO2 (8.0 ± 7.4 ppm) were recorded in chimneys of the grilling restaurants. Similarly, the highest levels of all pollutants were recorded in the areas adjacent to the grilling restaurants rather than other types. Full article
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23 pages, 10640 KiB  
Article
Black Carbon in Bulgaria—Observed and Modelled Concentrations in Two Cities for Two Months
by Elena Hristova, Emilia Georgieva, Blagorodka Veleva, Nadya Neykova, Stela Naydenova, Lenia Gonsalvesh-Musakova, Rozeta Neykova and Anton Petrov
Atmosphere 2022, 13(2), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13020213 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2821
Abstract
Black carbon (BC) is one of the particulate matter (PM) components that both affects human health and contributes to climate change. In this study, we present the preliminary results of the investigation of BC concentrations in PM2.5 for two Bulgarian cites—Sofia and [...] Read more.
Black carbon (BC) is one of the particulate matter (PM) components that both affects human health and contributes to climate change. In this study, we present the preliminary results of the investigation of BC concentrations in PM2.5 for two Bulgarian cites—Sofia and Burgas. The parallel PM2.5 samplings were organized in October 2020 and January 2021. The Multi-Wavelength Absorption Black carbon Instrument (MABI) was used for the evaluation of light-absorbing carbon. In addition, we compared the observed BC and PM2.5 values to modelled ones and analyzed the spatial distribution over the country, using data from advanced operational chemical transport models (CTM)—the European (regional) air quality system established at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). Generally, the observed BC and PM2.5 values were higher in January than in October for both cities. In October, the model underestimated the observed BC concentrations (Sofia—2.44 μg.m−3, Burgas—1.63 μg.m−3) by 17% and 51%. In January 2021, the observed monthly BC concentrations were higher (Sofia—3.62 μg.m−3, Burgas—1.75 μg.m−3), and the bias of the model was less than that in October, with an overestimation of 22% for Sofia. The relative bias for PM2.5 in October (17% for Sofia and −6% for Burgas) was less than the relative bias in January when the model underestimated PM2.5 monthly mean concentrations by 20% (Sofia) and 42% (Burgas). In addition, we also elaborate on two episodes with high observed BC concentrations in view of the meteorological conditions. Full article
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14 pages, 2122 KiB  
Article
Organic and Elemental Carbon in the Urban Background in an Eastern Mediterranean City
by Tareq Hussein, Xinyang Li, Zaid Bakri, Andres Alastuey, Sharif Arar, Afnan Al-Hunaiti, Mar Viana and Tuukka Petäjä
Atmosphere 2022, 13(2), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13020197 - 26 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4130
Abstract
The Mediterranean region is an important area for air pollution as it is the crossroads between three continents; therefore, the concentrations of atmospheric aerosol particles are influenced by emissions from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Here we concentrate on an eleven-month time series of [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean region is an important area for air pollution as it is the crossroads between three continents; therefore, the concentrations of atmospheric aerosol particles are influenced by emissions from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Here we concentrate on an eleven-month time series of the ambient concentration of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) between May 2018–March 2019 in Amman, Jordan. Such a dataset is unique in Jordan. The results show that the OC and EC annual mean concentrations in PM2.5 samples were 5.9 ± 2.8 µg m–3 and 1.7 ± 1.1 µg m–3, respectively. It was found that the majority of OC and EC concentrations were within the fine particle fraction (PM2.5). During sand and dust storm (SDS) episodes OC and EC concentrations were higher than the annual means; the mean values during these periods were about 9.6 ± 3.5 µg m–3 and 2.5 ± 1.2 µg m–3 in the PM2.5 samples. Based on this, the SDS episodes were identified to be responsible for an increased carbonaceous aerosol content as well as PM2.5 and PM10 content, which may have direct implications on human health. This study encourages us to perform more extensive measurements during a longer time period and to include an advanced chemical and physical characterization for urban aerosols in the urban atmosphere of Amman, which can be representative of other urban areas in the region. Full article
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11 pages, 2970 KiB  
Article
Impact of Vehicle Fleet Modernization on the Traffic-Originated Air Pollution in an Urban Area—A Case Study
by Piotr Holnicki, Zbigniew Nahorski and Andrzej Kałuszko
Atmosphere 2021, 12(12), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12121581 - 27 Nov 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3513
Abstract
The main subject of this paper is an analysis of the influence of changes in the air pollution caused by road traffic, due to its modernization, on the air quality in Warsaw conurbation, Poland. Using the Calpuff model, simulations of the yearly averaged [...] Read more.
The main subject of this paper is an analysis of the influence of changes in the air pollution caused by road traffic, due to its modernization, on the air quality in Warsaw conurbation, Poland. Using the Calpuff model, simulations of the yearly averaged concentrations of NOx, CO, PM10, and PM2.5 were performed, together with an assessment of the population exposure to individual pollutions. Source apportionment analysis indicates that traffic is the main source of NOx and CO concentrations in the city atmosphere. Utilizing the Euro norms emission standards, a scenario of vehicle emission abatement is formulated based on the assumed general vehicle fleet modernization and transition to Euro 6 emission standards. Computer simulations show a reduction in NOx concentrations attributed to emission mitigation of passenger cars, trucks and vans, and public transport buses, respectively. On the other hand, improving air quality in terms of CO concentrations depends almost exclusively on gasoline vehicle modernization. The implementation of the considered scenario causes an adequate reduction in the population exposure and related health effects. In particular, implementation of the scenario discussed results in a 47% reduction (compared with the baseline value) in the attributable yearly deaths related to NOx pollution. In spite of a substantial contribution of vehicle traffic to the overall PM pollution, modernization of the fuel combustion causes only minor final effects because the dominant share of PM pollution in Warsaw originates from the municipal sector and the transboundary inflow. Full article
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24 pages, 21333 KiB  
Article
Basic Facts about Numerical Simulations of Atmospheric Composition in the City of Sofia
by Vladimir Ivanov and Ivelina Georgieva
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1450; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111450 - 2 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1433
Abstract
The atmospheric composition in urban areas is one of the primary tasks in air pollution studies. The research aims to provide a statistically reliable assessment of the atmospheric composition climate of the city of Sofia—typical and extreme features of the special/temporal behavior, annual [...] Read more.
The atmospheric composition in urban areas is one of the primary tasks in air pollution studies. The research aims to provide a statistically reliable assessment of the atmospheric composition climate of the city of Sofia—typical and extreme features of the special/temporal behavior, annual means, seasonal and diurnal variations. For that purpose, extensive numerical simulations of the atmospheric composition fields in Sofia city have been performed. Three models were chosen as modeling tools. We used WRF as a meteorological pre-processor, CMAQ as a chemical transport model, and SMOKE as the emission pre-processor of Models-3 system. We developed the following conclusions. The daily concentration changes of the two essential air pollution species—nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particle matters (FPRM, particulate matter (PM2.5), which has a diameter between 0 and 2.5 micrometers)—have different magnitudes. Second, the emissions relative contributions to the concentration of different species could be different, varying from 0% to above 100%. The contributions of different emission categories to other species surface concentrations have various diurnal courses. Last, the total concentration change (ΔC) is different for each pollutant. The sign of the contributions of some processes is evident. Still, some may have different signs depending on the type of emissions, weather conditions, or topography. Full article
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