Air Quality Assessment and Management

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2021) | Viewed by 30832

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, 87036 Rende, Italy
Interests: sources and cycling of atmospheric mercury; assessment of Hg emissions reduction policies; standard operating procedure for measurement techniques; air pollution and GHG monitoring nertwork; data quality evaluation and management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CNR-Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, 87036 Rende, Italy
Interests: spatial data infrastructure; data quality assurance and quality control; air pollution data assessment; source apportionment; cloud computing; software engineering; machine learning; data science; big data
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Quantifying and monitoring air pollutants and their impacts in terms of public health and environmental effects is a critical component in policy discussion. The close interconnections between air quality and climate change also present a complex and sometimes confusing picture. In recent years, the policy-making process has paid greater attention to data gathering and analysis, and to their quality. In this regard, the progressive expansion of the existing air quality monitoring networks, the emergence of low-cost electronics and sensors, and the employment of integrated modeling tools are providing valuable information. The combination of data from many sources, in situ and remote sensing measurements, models, and public data providers are proving to be essential for a greater understanding. However, due to the huge amount of involved data, there is the need for new research on post-processing techniques, including advanced computational intelligence, interoperable systems, and data mining applications. The purpose of this Special Issue is to provide an overview of recent advances in technologies, tools, and methods with a focus on improving air monitoring, increasing environmental awareness, and/or facilitating knowledge-based policymaking. Contributions from observations, field experiments, and chemical transport modeling, including data science investigations, are all welcome.

Dr. Mariantonia Bencardino
Dr. Francesco D’Amore
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Monitoring networks 
  • Air quality and climate interactions 
  • Innovative technologies/tools 
  • Decision supporting system 
  • Data science 
  • Information and communication systems (ICT)

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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21 pages, 2590 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Utility of High-Resolution Spatiotemporal Air Pollution Data in Estimating Local PM2.5 Exposures in California from 2015–2018
by Laura Gladson, Nicolas Garcia, Jianzhao Bi, Yang Liu, Hyung Joo Lee and Kevin Cromar
Atmosphere 2022, 13(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13010085 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2489
Abstract
Air quality management is increasingly focused not only on across-the-board reductions in ambient pollution concentrations but also on identifying and remediating elevated exposures that often occur in traditionally disadvantaged communities. Remote sensing of ambient air pollution using data derived from satellites has the [...] Read more.
Air quality management is increasingly focused not only on across-the-board reductions in ambient pollution concentrations but also on identifying and remediating elevated exposures that often occur in traditionally disadvantaged communities. Remote sensing of ambient air pollution using data derived from satellites has the potential to better inform management decisions that address environmental disparities by providing increased spatial coverage, at high-spatial resolutions, compared to air pollution exposure estimates based on ground-based monitors alone. Daily PM2.5 estimates for 2015–2018 were estimated at a 1 km2 resolution, derived from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite instrument and the Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) algorithm in order to assess the utility of highly refined spatiotemporal air pollution data in 92 California cities and in the 13 communities included in the California Community Air Protection Program. The identification of pollution hot-spots within a city is typically not possible relying solely on the regulatory monitoring networks; however, day-to-day temporal variability was shown to be generally well represented by nearby ground-based monitoring data even in communities with strong spatial gradients in pollutant concentrations. An assessment of within-ZIP Code variability in pollution estimates indicates that high-resolution pollution estimates (i.e., 1 km2) are not always needed to identify spatial differences in exposure but become increasingly important for larger geographic areas (approximately 50 km2). Taken together, these findings can help inform strategies for use of remote sensing data for air quality management including the screening of locations with air pollution exposures that are not well represented by existing ground-based air pollution monitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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14 pages, 9210 KiB  
Article
Air Mercury Monitoring at the Baikal Area
by Nikolay Mashyanov, Vladimir Obolkin, Sergey Pogarev, Vladimir Ryzhov, Sergey Sholupov, Vladimir Potemkin, Elena Molozhnikova and Tamara Khodzher
Atmosphere 2021, 12(7), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12070807 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1878
Abstract
The GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project has the overall goal to develop a coordinated observing system to monitor mercury on a global scale. Here we present the long-term (2011–2020) air mercury monitoring data obtained at the Listvyanka station located at a shore [...] Read more.
The GMOS (Global Mercury Observation System) project has the overall goal to develop a coordinated observing system to monitor mercury on a global scale. Here we present the long-term (2011–2020) air mercury monitoring data obtained at the Listvyanka station located at a shore of Lake Baikal, Siberia. The long-term monitoring shows obvious seasonal variation of the background mercury concentration in air, which increases in the cold and decreases in the warm season. The short-term anomalies are associated with the wind carrying the air from the industrial areas where several big coal-fired power plants are located. A positive correlation between the mercury, SO2 and NO2 concentrations is observed both in the short-term variations and in the monthly average concentrations. The analysis of forward and backward trajectories obtained with the HYSPLIT model demonstrates revealing of the mercury emissions sources. During the cruise of 2018, the continuous air mercury survey over Lake Baikal covered 1800 km. The average mercury concentration over Baikal is notably less in comparison with the average value obtained at the onshore Listvyanka station during the same days of the cruise. That can lead to the conclusion that Baikal is a significant sink of the atmospheric mercury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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24 pages, 31301 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Air Pollution Mathematical Model of PM10 and Moss Biomonitoring Results in the Tritia Region
by Vladislav Svozilík, Aneta Svozilíková Krakovská, Jan Bitta and Petr Jančík
Atmosphere 2021, 12(6), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12060656 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2590
Abstract
Knowing the relationship between pollution sources and air pollution concentrations is crucial. Mathematical modeling is a suitable method for the assessment of this relationship. The aim of this research was to compare the results of the Analytical Dispersion Modelling Supercomputer System (ADMOSS), which [...] Read more.
Knowing the relationship between pollution sources and air pollution concentrations is crucial. Mathematical modeling is a suitable method for the assessment of this relationship. The aim of this research was to compare the results of the Analytical Dispersion Modelling Supercomputer System (ADMOSS), which is used for air pollution modeling in large areas, with the results of moss biomonitoring. For comparison purposes, air pollution mathematical modeling and the collection of moss samples for biomonitoring in the Czech–Polish–Slovak border area in the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) Tritia were carried out. Moss samples were analyzed by multi-element instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). The INAA results were statistically processed using the correlation-matrix-based hierarchical clustering and correlation analysis of the biomonitoring results and ADMOSS results. Biomonitoring using bryophytes proved to be suitable for the verification of mathematical models of air pollution due to the ability of bryophytes to capture the long-term deposition of pollutants and the resulting possibility of finding the real distribution of pollutants in the area, as well as identify the specific chemical elements, the distribution of which coincides with the mathematical model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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27 pages, 10726 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Thermal Microcosms at the Forest Floor—A Case Study of a Temperate Forest
by Denise Boehnke
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040503 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2401
Abstract
With the expected changes in summer weather due to global warming, knowledge of the microclimatic variability at the forest floor dramatically increased in importance for silviculture, wildfire management and biodiversity issues. Thus, during the warm season in 2014, thermal aspects within a heterogeneous [...] Read more.
With the expected changes in summer weather due to global warming, knowledge of the microclimatic variability at the forest floor dramatically increased in importance for silviculture, wildfire management and biodiversity issues. Thus, during the warm season in 2014, thermal aspects within a heterogeneous forest were recorded at nine sites and compared to data from a nearby weather station. It was found that soil (−5 cm) and near-surface (0–2 cm) temperatures under shaded conditions stayed remarkably cooler than temporarily or fully radiated spots inside and outside the forest; largest differences occurred in maxima (July: 22.5 °C to 53.5 °C). Solar radiation was found to be the main driver for the strong heating of near-surface microhabitats, which could be reinforced by the vegetation type (moss). The weather station widely reflected the average condition on forest floor, but lacks the biological meaningful temperature extremes. The measurement system (internal versus external sensor) resulted in differences of up to 6 K. The findings underline the importance of old or dense stands for maintaining cool microrefugia. However, also the need for careful selection and analysis of microclimatic measurements in forests, representative for specific microhabitats, under consideration of ground vegetation modifications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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10 pages, 2869 KiB  
Article
Effects of Season and House Microclimate on Fungal Flora in Air and Broiler Trachea
by Danijela Horvatek Tomić, Ivica Ravić, Anamaria Ekert Kabalin, Matija Kovačić, Željko Gottstein and Mario Ostović
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040459 - 6 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1712
Abstract
Fungi are present in abundance in poultry housing. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of season and microclimate parameters in poultry housing on fungal flora in the air and broiler trachea in commercial fattening conditions. The study was conducted [...] Read more.
Fungi are present in abundance in poultry housing. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of season and microclimate parameters in poultry housing on fungal flora in the air and broiler trachea in commercial fattening conditions. The study was conducted in summer and winter. Study results indicated seasonal impact and association between fungal flora composition in housing air and broiler trachea. However, the total fungal count in housing air was significantly higher in summer and in broiler trachea in winter, both significantly correlated with indoor relative humidity and ammonia concentration. There was no significant correlation between outdoor and indoor air temperature, relative humidity and airflow rate, respectively. Study results suggested that environmental determination of fungi should be accompanied by their determination in broilers. In addition, seasonal impact on fungal contamination should be associated with microclimate conditions in the poultry house rather than the season itself. The fungi detected and the results obtained have implications not only for broiler health but also for the health of humans working in such environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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12 pages, 2607 KiB  
Article
Atmospheric Mercury Pollution in the Xi’an Area, China, Studied by Differential Absorption Lidar
by Zheng Duan, Guangyu Zhao, Shiming Zhu, Ming Lian, Yiyun Li, Weixing Zhang and Sune Svanberg
Atmosphere 2021, 12(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12010027 - 27 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2137
Abstract
Measurements of the atmospheric concentration of polluting atomic mercury were performed using the differential absorption lidar (DIAL) technique in the Lintong district, about 35 km northeast of Xi’an, the capital of the Shaanxi province, China. Concentrations ranging from 2 to 13 ng/m3 [...] Read more.
Measurements of the atmospheric concentration of polluting atomic mercury were performed using the differential absorption lidar (DIAL) technique in the Lintong district, about 35 km northeast of Xi’an, the capital of the Shaanxi province, China. Concentrations ranging from 2 to 13 ng/m3 were observed. As uniquely enabled by the lidar technique, representative average concentrations, integrated over a considerable volume, were recorded and put in relation to weather conditions, and vertical concentration profiles were measured. Considerable local non-uniformities were also observed, which may indicate the presence of localized hot-spots in the area, possibly related to ancient tombs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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15 pages, 4831 KiB  
Article
Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Air Quality in Korea
by Ji Hoon Seo, Hyun Woo Jeon, Ui Jae Sung and Jong-Ryeul Sohn
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101137 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 7369
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has led countries to take action, which has included practicing social distancing or lockdown. Many cities are experiencing air quality improvements due to human activity restrictions. The purpose of this study was to compare the air quality between 2020 and [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led countries to take action, which has included practicing social distancing or lockdown. Many cities are experiencing air quality improvements due to human activity restrictions. The purpose of this study was to compare the air quality between 2020 and the previous three years, focusing on the two cities (Seoul and Daegu) where coronavirus is spreading the fastest in Korea. Significant decreases in PM2.5, PM10, CO, and NO2 were observed in both cities. In particular, compared to the same period of 2017-2019, in March 2020, PM2.5 showed remarkable reductions of 36% and 30% in Seoul and Daegu, respectively. The effects of social distancing have maximized improvements in air quality due to reduced transboundary pollutants. The PM2.5/PM10 ratio was significantly reduced after social distancing, indicating that the contribution of traffic-related PM2.5 declined. Air quality improved overall from January to July, and the most noticeable drop in the air quality index (AQI) was observed in April. These findings indicate that relatively weak social distancing measures compared to a COVID-19 lockdown can help reduce air pollutant levels. At the same time, however, changes in air quality in the neighboring countries caused by COVID-19 control action are affecting Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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16 pages, 5812 KiB  
Article
Temporal and Spatial Variation of PM2.5 in Xining, Northeast of the Qinghai–Xizang (Tibet) Plateau
by Xiaofeng Hu, Yongzheng Yin, Lian Duan, Hong Wang, Weijun Song and Guangli Xiu
Atmosphere 2020, 11(9), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11090953 - 7 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2611
Abstract
PM2.5 was sampled from January 2017 to May 2018 at an urban, suburban, industrial, and rural sites in Xining. The annual mean of PM2.5 was highest at the urban site and lowest at the rural site, with an average of 51.5 [...] Read more.
PM2.5 was sampled from January 2017 to May 2018 at an urban, suburban, industrial, and rural sites in Xining. The annual mean of PM2.5 was highest at the urban site and lowest at the rural site, with an average of 51.5 ± 48.9 and 26.4 ± 17.8 μg·m−3, respectively. The average PM2.5 concentration of the industrial and suburban sites was 42.8 ± 27.4 and 37.2 ± 23.7 μg·m−3, respectively. All sites except for the rural had concentrations above the ambient air quality standards of China (GB3095-2012). The highest concentration of PM2.5 at all sites was observed in winter, followed by spring, autumn, and summer. The concentration of major constituents showed statistically significant seasonal and spatial variation. The highest concentrations of organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC), and water-soluble inorganic ions (WSIIs) were found at the urban site in winter. The average concentration of F was higher than that in many studies, especially at the industrial site where the annual average concentration of F was 1.5 ± 1.7 μg·m−3. The range of sulfur oxidation ratio (SOR) was 0.1–0.18 and nitrogen oxidation ratio (NOR) was 0.02–0.1 in Xining. The higher SO42−/NO3 indicates that coal combustion has greater impact than vehicle emissions. The results of the potential source contribution function (PSCF) suggest that air mass from middle- and large-scale transport from the western areas of Xining have contributed to the higher level of PM2.5. On the basis of the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model, it was found that aerosols from salt lakes and dust were the main sources of PM2.5 in Xining, accounting for 26.3% of aerosol total mass. During the sandstorms, the concentration of PM2.5 increased sharply, and the concentrations of Na+, Ca2+ and Mg2+ were 1.13–2.70, 1.68–4.41, and 1.15–5.12 times higher, respectively, than annual average concentration, implying that aerosols were mainly from dust and the largest saltwater lake, Qinghai Lake, and many other salt lakes in the province of Qinghai. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) was utilized to study the surface components of PM2.5 and F was found to be increasingly distributed from the surface to inside the particles. We determined that the extremely high PM2.5 concentration appears to be due to an episode of heavy pollution resulting from the combination of sandstorms and the burning of fireworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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15 pages, 2205 KiB  
Article
A Chemical Transport Model Emulator for the Interactive Evaluation of Mercury Emission Reduction Scenarios
by Francesco De Simone, Francesco D’Amore, Francesco Marasco, Francesco Carbone, Mariantonia Bencardino, Ian M. Hedgecock, Sergio Cinnirella, Francesca Sprovieri and Nicola Pirrone
Atmosphere 2020, 11(8), 878; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11080878 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3207
Abstract
Implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury requires all parties to “control, and where feasible, reduce” mercury (Hg) emissions from a convention-specified set of sources. However, the convention does not specify the extent of the measures to be adopted, which may only be [...] Read more.
Implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury requires all parties to “control, and where feasible, reduce” mercury (Hg) emissions from a convention-specified set of sources. However, the convention does not specify the extent of the measures to be adopted, which may only be analysed by decision-makers using modelled scenarios. Currently, the numerical models available to study the Hg atmospheric cycle require significant expertise and high-end hardware, with results which are generally available on a time frame of days to weeks. In this work we present HERMES, a statistical emulator built on the output of a global Chemical Transport Model (CTM) for Hg (ECHMERIT), to simulate changes in anthropogenic Hg (Hganthr) deposition fluxes in a source-receptor framework, due to perturbations to Hganthr emissions and the associated statistical significance of the changes. The HERMES emulator enables stakeholders to evaluate the implementation of different Hganthr emission scenarios in an interactive and real-time manner, simulating the application of the different Best Available Technologies. HERMES provides the scientific soundness of a full CTM numerical framework in an interactive and user-friendly spreadsheet, without the necessity for specific training or formation and is a first step towards a more comprehensive, and integrated, decision support system to aid decision-makers in the implementation of the Minamata Convention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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Review

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34 pages, 14199 KiB  
Review
An Overview of Experiences Made and Tools Used to Inform the Public on Ambient Air Quality
by Alessandra Fino, Francesca Vichi, Cristina Leonardi and Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1524; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111524 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2837
Abstract
Legislative regulations on atmospheric pollution have been established in different parts of the world for addressing air quality management. An important public commitment, common among all nations, is to ensure environmental safety and health protection, particularly for the most fragile population groups. Each [...] Read more.
Legislative regulations on atmospheric pollution have been established in different parts of the world for addressing air quality management. An important public commitment, common among all nations, is to ensure environmental safety and health protection, particularly for the most fragile population groups. Each country has its own rules and practices to provide adequate and timely information on ambient air quality. Information is given either through easily accessible media, including websites and apps, or by traditional means of telecommunication. An air quality index (AQI) is definitely a valuable tool for disseminating data on the main regulated pollutants and represents a readable indicator of the prevailing situation of air quality in the area. Several calculating expressions were formulated to combine, in a unique value, different parameters, and a few methods were created to determine and compare different AQIs. This paper gives almost a global overview of approaches and tools used to inform the public about the status of the ambient air quality. Different AQIs are analyzed to contribute to the sharing of air quality management practices and information to raise public awareness and to help policymakers to act accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality Assessment and Management)
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