Special Issue "Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Antonio Donateo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council (ISAC-CNR), u.o. Lecce, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: An inter-comparison of PM2. 5 at urban and urban background sites
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Maria Gabriella Villani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division Models and Technologies for Risks reduction, Department of Sustainability, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (SSTP-MET-INAT, ENEA), c/o JRC, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
Interests: air quality modeling; urban environment; low-cost air quality sensors; planetary boundary layer; atmospheric transport and diffusion
Dr. Teresa Lo Feudo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council (ISAC-CNR), u.o. Lamezia Terme, Zona Industriale area ex SIR, 88046 Lamezia Terme (CZ), Italy
Interests: aerosol characterization; pollution sources; planetary boundary layer; remote sensing; atmosphere composition; air quality
Dr. Elena Chianese
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Science and Technology, Parthenope University of Naples, Centro Direzionale di Napoli, Isola C4, 80143 (NA), Italy
Interests: air quality; PM characterization; indoor pollution; museum environment; environmental chemistry
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Atmosphere dedicates this Special Issue to air quality in Italy. Despite continuous improvements in recent decades, air pollution in Italy still represents a great concern as prescribed legal limits for main pollutant concentrations (in particular PM2.5, PM10, O3, NO2, PAHs, NOX) are repeatedly being exceeded, both in cities and in rural areas. According to European Environmental Agency yearly reports and World Health Organization studies, the Po Valley region and a number of Italian cities have sadly become well known for being the worst in Europe in terms of air pollution and smog, constituting an economic and societal challenge for policymakers. Critical air pollutant concentration levels primarily have consequences for human health, in terms of health care costs, morbidity and premature deaths. The impact of air pollution on agriculture, natural and built-up environments is particularly severe when considering acid rain, eutrophication, haze, effects on wildlife, crop and forest damages, and, last but not least, climate change.

The main goal of this Special Issue is to provide a useful starting point for everybody who wishes to gain a valuable snapshot of the recent approaches employed to study the air pollution problem in Italy.

We invite you to submit novel research studies, as well as review articles, that investigate air quality in Italy, focusing on the main air pollutants in urban, industrial, and rural environments. Studies relating to air pollutant precursors, transport, flux emission or deposition, and photochemical pollutant formation as well as air pollution–climate interaction and policy-related studies, including control strategies for short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), are highly welcome.

Contributions from observations, field experiments, and chemical-transport modeling, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, or data science investigations are all welcome.

Dr. Antonio Donateo
Dr. Maria Gabriella Villani
Dr. Teresa Lo Feudo
Dr. Elena Chianese
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • air pollution
  • air quality observations
  • air quality models
  • air pollution remote sensing
  • air pollution forecast modeling
  • Italy
  • Po Valley
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Particulate Matter (PM)
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
  • bioaerosol
  • particulate matter chemical characterization
  • emission inventory
  • health effects
  • mitigation strategy
  • source apportionment
  • transport and dispersion models
  • long-range transport
  • aerosol and clouds
  • low cost air quality sensors
  • urban environments

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101054 - 01 Oct 2020
Viewed by 585
Abstract
This special issue collects 18 original and review articles dealing with dierent recent advances in
air pollution studies in Italy, from urban to rural environments, from model to experimental approaches.... Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Preliminary Tests on the Sensitivity of the FORAIR_IT Air Quality Forecasting System to Different Meteorological Drivers
Atmosphere 2020, 11(6), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060574 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 663
Abstract
Since 2017, the operational high-resolution air quality forecasting system FORAIR_IT, developed and maintained by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, has been providing three-day forecasts of concentrations of atmospheric pollutants over Europe and Italy, on a daily [...] Read more.
Since 2017, the operational high-resolution air quality forecasting system FORAIR_IT, developed and maintained by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, has been providing three-day forecasts of concentrations of atmospheric pollutants over Europe and Italy, on a daily basis, with high spatial resolution (20 km on Europe, 4 km on Italy). The system is based on the Atmospheric Modelling System of the National Integrated Assessment Model for Italy (AMS-MINNI), which is a national modelling system evaluated in several studies across Italy and Europe. AMS-MINNI, in its forecasting setup, is presently a candidate model for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service’s regional production, dedicated to European-scale ensemble model forecasts of air quality. In order to improve the quality of the meteorological input into the chemical transport model component of FORAIR_IT, several tests were carried out on daily forecasts of NO2 and O3 concentrations for January and August 2019 (representative of the meteorological seasons of winter and summer, respectively). The aim was to evaluate the sensitivity to the meteorological input in NO2 and O3 concentration forecasting. More specifically, the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) was tested to potentially improve the meteorological driver with respect to the Regional Atmospheric Modelling System (RAMS), which is currently embedded in FORAIR_IT. In this work, the WRF chain is run in several setups, changing the parameterization of several micrometeorological variables (snow, mixing height, albedo, roughness length, soil heat flux + friction velocity, Monin–Obukhov length), with the main objective being to take advantage of WRF’s consistent physics in the calculation of both mesoscale variables and micrometeorological parameters for air quality simulations. Daily forecast concentrations produced by the different meteorological model configurations are compared to the available measured concentrations, showing the general good performance of WRF-driven results, even if performance skills are different according to the single meteorological configuration and to the pollutant type. WRF-driven forecasts clearly improve the model reproduction of the temporal variability of concentrations, while the bias of O3 is higher than in the RAMS-driven configuration. The results suggest that we should keep testing WRF configurations, with the objective of obtaining a robust improvement in forecast concentrations with respect to RAMS-driven forecasts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Definition of an Emission Factor for VOC Emitted from Italian and European Refineries
Atmosphere 2020, 11(6), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060564 - 28 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Refineries are a major source of atmospheric emissions, which typically include CO, SO2, NOX, particulates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There has been an increasing level of attention toward the emissions of VOCs related to their environmental impact as [...] Read more.
Refineries are a major source of atmospheric emissions, which typically include CO, SO2, NOX, particulates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There has been an increasing level of attention toward the emissions of VOCs related to their environmental impact as well as their potential to cause adverse effects on human health and the discomfort associated with their unpleasant odor. In general, an emission factor (EF) represents a model for a first order estimate of emissions, which correlates the quantity of pollutant released into the atmosphere with a so-called “activity index” related to the release of that pollutant. Based on the study of the scientific and technical literature regarding the Italian and European refining scenarios, an attempt was made to verify the existence of a correlation between the size of a refinery and the related total VOC emissions. Once this correlation was evaluated, it was possible to develop an emission factor for VOC emissions considering the plant capacity as the related activity index. After collecting and analyzing data concerning operative capacity and total VOCs emitted from 15 refineries in 2018, the resulting emission factor turned out to be equal to 188 ± 166 g per ton of crude oil processed. This value is in agreement with the range of 50–1000 g/ton reported in the European Best Available Techniques Reference Document for the Refining of Mineral Oil and Gas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Source Apportionment of PM2.5 in Florence (Italy) by PMF Analysis of Aerosol Composition Records
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050484 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1111
Abstract
An extensive field campaign was carried out in Florence (Tuscany) to investigate the PM2.5 composition and to identify its sources. The scientific objective of this study is providing a reliable source apportionment, which is mandatory for the application of effective mitigation actions. [...] Read more.
An extensive field campaign was carried out in Florence (Tuscany) to investigate the PM2.5 composition and to identify its sources. The scientific objective of this study is providing a reliable source apportionment, which is mandatory for the application of effective mitigation actions. Particulate matter (PM) was collected for one year, simultaneously in a traffic site, in an urban background, and in a regional background site. While the use of two filter types (quartz and Teflon) allowed obtaining a comprehensive chemical characterization (elemental and organic carbon, ions, elements) by the application of different analytical techniques, the location of the three sampling sites allowed getting a better separation among local, urban, regional and transboundary sources. During shorter periods, the aerosol was also collected by means of a streaker sampler and PIXE (Particle Induced X-ray Emission) analysis of these samples allowed the assessment of hourly resolution elemental time trends. Positive matrix factorisation (PMF) identified seven main sources: traffic, biomass burning, secondary sulphate, secondary nitrates, urban dust, Saharan dust and marine aerosol. Traffic mass concentration contributions were found to be strong only at the traffic site (~8 μg·m−3, 33% of PM2.5). Biomass burning turned out to be an important PM2.5 source in Florence (~4 μg·m−3), with very similar weights in both city sites while at the regional background site its weight was negligible. Secondary sulphate is an important PM2.5 source on a regional scale, with comparable values in all three sites (~3.5 μg·m−3). On average, the contribution of the “natural” components (e.g., mineral dust and marine aerosols) to PM2.5 is moderate (~1 μg·m−3) except during Saharan dust intrusions where this contribution is higher (detected simultaneously in all three sites). High-time resolution data confirmed and reinforced these results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Composition of PM10 in 16 Urban, Industrial and Background Sites in Italy
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050479 - 08 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
Italy is characterized by a very variable configuration in terms of altitude, proximity to the sea, latitude and the presence of industrial plants. This paper summarizes the chemical characterization of PM10 obtained from 38 sampling campaigns carried out in 16 sites in [...] Read more.
Italy is characterized by a very variable configuration in terms of altitude, proximity to the sea, latitude and the presence of industrial plants. This paper summarizes the chemical characterization of PM10 obtained from 38 sampling campaigns carried out in 16 sites in Italy during the years 2008–2018. Chemical determinations include all macro-components (six macro-elements, eight ions, elemental carbon and organic carbon). The sum of the individual components agrees well with the PM10 mass. The chemical composition of the atmospheric aerosol clearly reflects the variety in the Italian territory and the pronounced seasonal variations in the meteoclimatic conditions that characterize the country. Macro-sources reconstruction allowed us to identify and evaluate the strength of the main PM10 sources in different areas. On 10 sampling sites, the soluble and insoluble fractions of 23 minor and trace elements were also determined. Principal Component Analysis was applied to these data to highlight the relationship between the elemental composition of PM10 and the characteristics of the sampling sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Miniaturized Sensors to Unmanned Aerial Systems, A New Pathway for the Survey of Polluted Areas: Preliminary Results
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050471 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 881
Abstract
With the aim to have risk mitigation for people and first responders, active remote sensing standoff detection is a fruitful technology, both in case of accidental (natural or incidental) or intentional dispersion in the environment of volatile chemical substances. Nowadays, several laser-based methodologies [...] Read more.
With the aim to have risk mitigation for people and first responders, active remote sensing standoff detection is a fruitful technology, both in case of accidental (natural or incidental) or intentional dispersion in the environment of volatile chemical substances. Nowadays, several laser-based methodologies could be put in place to perform extensive areal monitoring. The present study regards the proposal for a new system architecture derived from the integration of a low-cost laser-based network of detectors for pollutants interfaced with a more sophisticated layout mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) able to identify the nature and the amount of a release. With this system set up, the drone will be activated by the alarm triggered by the laser-based network when anomalies are detected. The area will be explored by the drone with a more accurate set of sensors for identification to validate the detection of the network of Lidar systems and to sample the substance in the focus zone for subsequent analysis. In this work, methodologies and requirements for the standoff detection and the identification features chosen for this integrated system are described. The work aims at the definition of a new approach to the problem through the integration of different technologies and tools in the operative field experiments. Some preliminary results in support of the suitability of the integration hypothesis proposed are presented. This study gives rise to an integrated system to be furtherly tested in a real environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Total p-PAH Levels Nearby a Complex Industrial Area: A Tailored Monitoring Experiment to Assess the Impact of Emission Sources
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050469 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 661
Abstract
In this study, data on the hourly concentrations of the total particle-bound Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (p-PAHs) collected between 1 August 2013 and 31 August 2014 by the air quality fence monitoring network of the biggest European steel plant, were analyzed. In contrast with [...] Read more.
In this study, data on the hourly concentrations of the total particle-bound Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (p-PAHs) collected between 1 August 2013 and 31 August 2014 by the air quality fence monitoring network of the biggest European steel plant, were analyzed. In contrast with what was predicted, the total p-PAH concentration did not decrease with distance from the steel plant, and higher concentrations were registered at the Orsini site, in the urban settlement, relative to the Parchi site, which is nearest to the coke ovens. Therefore, in order to identify and explain the cause of these high concentrations, a tailored monitoring experiment was carried out on a specific monitoring pathway by using a total p-PAHs monitor placed onto a cart. The real-time monitoring of the total p-PAH concentration on the road revealed to be a useful tool, which identified vehicular traffic as an important source of p-PAHs and highlighted the possible high short-term effect that vehicular traffic sources could have on the health of the exposed human population. Moreover, the study focused attention on the importance of the spatial representativeness of fixed monitoring stations, especially in a highly complex industrial area such as Taranto (Southern Italy). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Five Years of Dust Episodes at the Southern Italy GAW Regional Coastal Mediterranean Observatory: Multisensors and Modeling Analysis
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050456 - 30 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 816
Abstract
The Mediterranean area is a climate-change hotspot because of the natural and anthropogenic pollution pressure. The presence of natural aerosols, such as dust, influences solar radiation and contributes to the detection, in storm episodes, of significant concentrations of PM10 in Southern Italy, where [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean area is a climate-change hotspot because of the natural and anthropogenic pollution pressure. The presence of natural aerosols, such as dust, influences solar radiation and contributes to the detection, in storm episodes, of significant concentrations of PM10 in Southern Italy, where generally fresh and clean air is due to local circulation, and particulate matter concentrations are very low. We present the results of medium-term observations (2015–2019) at Lamezia Terme GAW (Global Atmospheric Watch) Regional Observatory, with the purpose of identifying the dust incursion events by studying the aerosol properties in the site. To achieve this goal, the experimental data, collected by several instruments, have been also correlated with the large-scale atmospheric patterns derived by the ERA5 reanalysis dataset, in order to study the meteorological conditions that strongly influence dust outbreaks and their spatio-temporal behavior. An intense dust-outbreak episode, which occurred on 23–27 April 2019, was chosen as a case study; a detailed analysis was carried out considering surface and column optical properties, chemical properties, large-scale pattern circulation, air-quality modeling/satellite products, and back-trajectory analysis, to confirm the capability of the modeled large-scale atmospheric fields to correctly simulate the conditions mainly related to the desert dust-outbreak events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Operational Forecast and Daily Assessment of the Air Quality in Italy: A Copernicus-CAMS Downstream Service
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050447 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 833
Abstract
In this paper, an operational forecasting and daily assessment system of air quality is presented. This new system is thought of as a Copernicus-CAMS downstream national service, able to develop and implement a service for air quality forecasting and monitoring in the Italian [...] Read more.
In this paper, an operational forecasting and daily assessment system of air quality is presented. This new system is thought of as a Copernicus-CAMS downstream national service, able to develop and implement a service for air quality forecasting and monitoring in the Italian domain, running every day on the National territory. The system is being developed on behalf of a cooperation between Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) and Sistema Nazionale Protezione Ambiente (SNPA). SNPA is the network between Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA) and the Regional Environmental Agencies (ARPAs). The objective of the cooperation is to provide full operation service in terms of continuity, sustainability, and availability of the air quality forecast and evaluation services at the national level. The system forecasts and analyzes air quality throughout Italy, with a focus on Italian regions, for the principal pollutants: Particulate matter with diameter smaller than 10 μm (PM10), ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). It includes a Chemical Transport Model (CTM) nested with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) global model and data from the air quality monitoring stations in Italy. The system, under public control and based on open software, is now under testing. To date, it is able to deliver free open data, which is available to environmental agencies and citizens. The data are delivered both as maps and graphs, and as numerical data, useful for providing boundary conditions to local–high resolution-air quality models or for developing customized services. In this work, a downscaling application to a regional nested domain highlights how the new air quality forecasting system gains better results than the Copernicus-CAMS system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Air Quality in the Po Valley, Italy: Some Results by the LIFE-IP-PREPAIR Project
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040429 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1403
Abstract
The Po Valley (Northern Italy) represents an important exceedance zone of the air-quality limit values for PM (particulate matter), NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and O3 (ozone). This area covers the territory of most Italian northern regions and includes several urban agglomerates, such [...] Read more.
The Po Valley (Northern Italy) represents an important exceedance zone of the air-quality limit values for PM (particulate matter), NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and O3 (ozone). This area covers the territory of most Italian northern regions and includes several urban agglomerates, such as Milan, Turin, Venice and Bologna. The area is densely populated and heavily industrialized. The paper summarizes the assessment of the impact of the current (2013) and future (2025) emissions and of the meteorological conditions on the air quality of the Po Valley. This study is one of the first outcomes of the EU LIFE-IP Clean Air Program Po Regions Engaged to Policies of Air (PREPAIR) project. The project, involving administrations and environmental agencies of eight regions and three municipalities in Northern Italy and Slovenia, started in 2017 and will end in 2024. Future emission scenarios consider the emissions reduction due to the air-quality action plans of the regions involved, of the agreements between the national authorities and regional administrations and of the PREPAIR project itself, in the overall context of the application of the current legislation of the European Union. The combination of these measures will lead to the reduction of direct emissions of PM10 in the Po Valley and of the main precursors emitted in the area (NOx, nitrogen oxides and NH3, and ammonia) by 38% for PM10, 39% for NOx and 22% for NH3, respectively. This lowering corresponds to a reduction of about 30.000 tons of primary PM10, 150.000 tons of NOx, 54.000 tons of NH3 and 1700 tons of SO2. The results show that these expected reductions should allow us to achieve the EU PM10 limit value in the Po Valley by the year 2025. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Definition and Application of a Protocol for Electronic Nose Field Performance Testing: Example of Odor Monitoring from a Tire Storage Area
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040426 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
Odor pollution is nowadays recognized as a serious environmental concern. Italy still lacks a national regulation about odors, but several regions issued specific guidelines and regulations regarding odor emissions management, which combine olfactometric measurements with dispersion modeling for assessing odor impacts and verifying [...] Read more.
Odor pollution is nowadays recognized as a serious environmental concern. Italy still lacks a national regulation about odors, but several regions issued specific guidelines and regulations regarding odor emissions management, which combine olfactometric measurements with dispersion modeling for assessing odor impacts and verifying compliance with acceptability criteria. However, in cases of variable or diffuse sources, this approach is sometimes hardly applicable, because odor emission rates can hardly be estimated. In such cases, electronic noses, or more generally, Instrumental Odor Monitoring Systems (IOMS), represent a suitable solution for direct odor measurement. Accordingly, IOMS are explicitly mentioned in the most recent regional regulations as advanced tools for odor impact assessment. In Italy, data from instrumental odor monitoring have started to have regulatory value; thus the need arises to have specific quality programs to ensure and verify the reliability of IOMS outcomes. This paper describes the monitoring by a commercial electronic nose (EOS507F) of odors from an area dedicated to tire storage, a diffuse source with variable emissions over time, for which dispersion modeling is not applicable. The paper proposes also a protocol for IOMS performance testing in the field, to provide experimental data to support technical groups working on standardization both on the national and European level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Hourly Elemental Composition and Source Identification by Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) of Fine and Coarse Particulate Matter in the High Polluted Industrial Area of Taranto (Italy)
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040419 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 807
Abstract
In the framework of an extensive environmental investigation, promoted by the Italian Health Ministry, the ISPESL (Istituto Superiore per la Prevenzione e la Sicurezza del Lavoro) and the CNR (Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca), aerosol samples were collected in Taranto (one of the most [...] Read more.
In the framework of an extensive environmental investigation, promoted by the Italian Health Ministry, the ISPESL (Istituto Superiore per la Prevenzione e la Sicurezza del Lavoro) and the CNR (Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca), aerosol samples were collected in Taranto (one of the most industrialized towns in southern Italy) with high time resolution and analyzed by PIXE. The samples were collected in two periods (February–March and June 2004) and in two different sites: an urban district close to the industrial area and a small town 7 km N-NW of Taranto. The use of ‘‘streaker’’ samplers (by PIXE International Corporation) allowed for the simultaneous collection of the fine (<2.5 μm) and coarse (2.5–10 μm) fractions of particulate matter. PIXE analyses were performed with a 3 MeV proton beam from the 3 MV Tandetron accelerator of the INFN-LABEC laboratory. Particulate emissions as well as their atmospheric transport and dilution processes change within a few hours, but most of the results in literature are limited to daily time resolution of the input samples that are not suitable for tracking these rapid changes. Furthermore, since source apportionment receptor models need a series of samples containing material from the same set of sources in different proportions, a higher variability between samples can be obtained by increasing the temporal resolution rather than with samples integrated over a longer time. In this study, the high time resolution of the adopted approach allowed us to follow in detail the changes in the aerosol elemental composition due to both the time evolution of the industrial emissions and the time changes in meteorological conditions, and thus, transport pathways. Moreover, the location of the sampling sites, along the prevalent wind direction and in opposite positions with respect to the industrial site, allowed us to follow the impact of the industrial plume as a function of wind direction. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis on the elemental hourly concentrations identified eight sources in the fine fraction and six sources in the coarse one. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
PM2.5 in Indoor Air of a Bakery: Chemical Characterization and Size Distribution
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040415 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 780
Abstract
In current literature, studies on indoor air quality mostly concern environments such as hospitals, schools and homes, and less so on spaces producing food, such as bakeries. However, small- and medium-sized bakeries are typical and very common food production spaces, mostly in Southern [...] Read more.
In current literature, studies on indoor air quality mostly concern environments such as hospitals, schools and homes, and less so on spaces producing food, such as bakeries. However, small- and medium-sized bakeries are typical and very common food production spaces, mostly in Southern Italy. Considering this, the present study investigated size trends of the aerosol particles during bakery working activities and the indoor particulate matter PM2.5 chemical speciation at the same time, in order to characterize the aerosol particulate matter emissions. In particular, indoor air monitoring was performed using a silent sequential sampler and an optical particle counter monitor during 7–19 April 2013. For each daily sampling, four PM2.5 samples were collected. In each sample, OC (organic carbon), EC (elemental carbon), LG (levoglucosan) Cl (chloride), NO2 (nitrite), NO3 (nitrate), SO42− (sulfate), C2O42− (oxalate), Na+ (sodium), NH4+ (ammonium), K+ (potassium), Mg2+ (magnesium) and Ca2+ (calcium) concentrations were determined. The main sources of particles were wood burning, the cleaning of ovens (ash removal) and the baking of bread. While levoglucosan was associated with the source wood burning, potassium in this case can be considered as a marker of the contribution of the bakery activities. This work represents the second part of indoor research activities performed in the bakery. The first part was published in Ielpo et al. (2018). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Contribution of the Incinerator to the Inorganic Composition of the PM10 Collected in Turin
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040400 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 609
Abstract
Modern incinerator plants are equipped with an efficient system for the removal of pollutants and, hence, the gas and particle emissions are generally extremely low. However, it is possible that malfunctions, together with specific meteorological conditions, temporarily cause significant emissions. In this study, [...] Read more.
Modern incinerator plants are equipped with an efficient system for the removal of pollutants and, hence, the gas and particle emissions are generally extremely low. However, it is possible that malfunctions, together with specific meteorological conditions, temporarily cause significant emissions. In this study, the evolution of the inorganic composition of PM10 samples collected in the vicinity of the Turin incinerator before and after its commissioning was assessed. The purpose was to identify the PM sources present in the area, and to evaluate if the operation of the incinerator caused an increase of the concentration of some species. Significant differences were registered among the composition of samples collected in 2012 and 2014, as the latter year was characterized by higher concentrations of Al, As, Ba, Ca, K, Na, Ni, Pb, Sr, and Zn. Considering the position of the incinerator and of the monitoring station, it seems that this increment was not directly caused by the plant emissions. The most probable source of these elements is the highway vehicular traffic, which might have increased due to the travelling of trucks carrying wastes to the incinerator. However, a direct contribution deriving from the incinerator emissions cannot be excluded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Measurements of Vehicle Pollutants in a High-Traffic Urban Area by a Multiwavelength Dial Approach: Correlation Between Two Different Motor Vehicle Pollutants
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040383 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 807
Abstract
The development and improvement of monitoring techniques to measure the concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere are a starting point to guarantee high levels of human health and environmental safety. The combination of lidar and dial techniques, by measuring backscattering signals and reconstructing [...] Read more.
The development and improvement of monitoring techniques to measure the concentration of pollutants in the atmosphere are a starting point to guarantee high levels of human health and environmental safety. The combination of lidar and dial techniques, by measuring backscattering signals and reconstructing the map of their concentrations, can be used to provide detailed information about the presence of aerosols, particulate and pollutions. Moreover, by using a multiwavelength approach, it is possible to increase the measurement accuracy and reliability. In this work, the dial approach is used to monitor the pollution in a very congested urban area with high traffic. In order to provide a validation of the results, correlation analyses between the measured pollutants was performed. A new lidar analysis method, based on the least-square minimization technique, was introduced and demonstrated to work properly. The dial capability to detect polluted areas was shown—and by correlation analysis—also the possibility to identify the source of pollutions can be performed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison Study between Indoor and Outdoor Chemical Composition of PM2.5 in Two Italian Areas
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040368 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 702
Abstract
Outdoor air quality guidelines have been constantly implemented during the last decades. Nonetheless, no international regulations have been put into action in terms of indoor air quality standards and standardized procedures for indoor pollution measurements. In this study, we investigated the chemical composition [...] Read more.
Outdoor air quality guidelines have been constantly implemented during the last decades. Nonetheless, no international regulations have been put into action in terms of indoor air quality standards and standardized procedures for indoor pollution measurements. In this study, we investigated the chemical composition of PM2.5 collected outdoors and indoors at six dwellings located in two Italian areas. The selected sites concerned inland/central and southern Italy, including urban, peri-urban, rural and coastal settings. The seasonal and site-specific particulate matter (PM) variations were analyzed outdoors and indoors, by estimating the impact of the main macro-sources and the contribution of the macro- and micro-components. Outdoors, organic matter represented the main contribution at inland and coastal sites, respectively during winter and summer. A clear, seasonal variation was also observed for secondary inorganic species. A site-specific dependence was exhibited by traffic-related components. Indoors, organic and soil-related species were influenced by the presence of the inhabitants. Some specific tracers allowed to identify additional local source contributions and indoor activities. Although the sampling season and site location defined the outdoor air quality, the higher PM concentrations and the chemical composition indoors were influenced by the infiltration of outdoor air and by the indoor activities carried out by its inhabitants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Oxidative Potential Sensitivity to Metals, Br, P, S, and Se in PM10 Samples: New Insights from a Monitoring Campaign in Southeastern Italy
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040367 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 588
Abstract
Different analytical techniques were used in this work to investigate the relationships between oxidative potential (OP) and metal, Br, P, S, and Se concentration in PM10 samples. Dithiothreitol and ascorbic acid acellular assays were used to determine the oxidative potential (OP) in PM10 [...] Read more.
Different analytical techniques were used in this work to investigate the relationships between oxidative potential (OP) and metal, Br, P, S, and Se concentration in PM10 samples. Dithiothreitol and ascorbic acid acellular assays were used to determine the oxidative potential (OP) in PM10 samples. The particle-induced X-ray emission technique was used to estimate the mass concentration of specific chemical elements. PM10 samples were collected in Lecce, a coastal site of the Central Mediterranean away from large sources of local pollution. Both winter and spring samples were analyzed to study the seasonal dependence of the relationships between OP values and chemical element concentrations. The Redundancy Discriminant Analysis (RDA) was applied to (volume- and mass-normalized) OP values as response variables and metal, Br, P, S, and Se concentrations as explanatory variables. RDA triplots allowed to visualize the main relationships between PM10 OP values and corresponding chemical element concentrations. Spearman correlation coefficients were also used to investigate the relationships between OP values and metal, Br, P, S, and Se concentrations, besides comparing RDA outcomes. The integrated approach based on two different techniques allowed to better highlight the potentially harmful effects associated with specific metals and other chemical elements in PM10 samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
First Evidences of Methyl Chloride (CH3Cl) Transport from the Northern Italy Boundary Layer during Summer 2017
Atmosphere 2020, 11(3), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11030238 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 890
Abstract
Methyl Chloride (CH3Cl) is a chlorine-containing trace gas in the atmosphere contributing significantly to stratospheric ozone depletion. While the atmospheric CH3Cl emissions are predominantly caused by natural sources on the global budget, significant uncertainties still remain for the anthropogenic [...] Read more.
Methyl Chloride (CH3Cl) is a chlorine-containing trace gas in the atmosphere contributing significantly to stratospheric ozone depletion. While the atmospheric CH3Cl emissions are predominantly caused by natural sources on the global budget, significant uncertainties still remain for the anthropogenic CH3Cl emission strengths. In summer 2007 an intensive field campaign within the ACTRIS-2 Project was hosted at the Mt. Cimone World Meteorological Organization/Global Atmosphere Watch global station (CMN, 44.17° N, 10.68° E, 2165 m a.s.l.). High-frequency and high precision in situ measurements of atmospheric CH3Cl revealed significant high-frequency variability superimposed on the seasonally varying regional background levels. The high-frequency CH3Cl variability was characterized by an evident cycle over 24 h with maxima during the afternoon which points towards a systematic role of thermal vertical transport of air-masses from the regional boundary layer. The temporal correlation analysis with specific tracers of anthropogenic activity (traffic, industry, petrochemical industry) together with bivariate analysis as a function of local wind regime suggested that, even if the role of natural marine emissions appears as predominant, the northern Italy boundary layer could potentially represent a non-negligible source of CH3Cl during summer. Since industrial production and use of CH3Cl have not been regulated under the Montreal Protocol (MP) or its successor amendments, continuous monitoring of CH3Cl outflow from the Po Basin is important to properly assess its anthropogenic emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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Open AccessArticle
Aerosol Optical Depth of the Main Aerosol Species over Italian Cities Based on the NASA/MERRA-2 Model Reanalysis
Atmosphere 2019, 10(11), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10110709 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 940
Abstract
The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) provides data at 0.5° × 0.625° resolution covering a period from 1 January 1980 to the present. Natural and anthropogenic aerosols are simulated in MERRA-2, considering the Goddard chemistry, aerosol, radiation, and [...] Read more.
The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) provides data at 0.5° × 0.625° resolution covering a period from 1 January 1980 to the present. Natural and anthropogenic aerosols are simulated in MERRA-2, considering the Goddard chemistry, aerosol, radiation, and transport model. This model simulates the sources, sinks, and chemistry of mixed aerosol tracers: dust, sea salt, hydrophobic and hydrophilic black carbon and organic carbon, and sulfate. MERRA-2 aerosol reanalysis is a pioneering tool for investigating air quality issues, noteworthy for its global coverage and its distinction of aerosol speciation expressed in the form of aerosol optical depth (AOD). The aim of this work was to use the MERRA-2 reanalysis to study urban air pollution at a national scale by analyzing the AOD. AOD trends were evaluated for a 30-year period (1987–2017) over five Italian cities (Milan, Rome, Cagliari, Taranto, and Palermo) in order to investigate the impacts of urbanization, industrialization, air quality regulations, and regional transport on urban aerosol load. AOD evolution predicted by the MERRA-2 model in the period 2002–2017 showed a generalized decreasing trend over the selected cities. The anthropogenic signature on total AOD was between 50% and 80%, with the largest contribution deriving from sulfate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Air Pollution Studies in Italy)
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