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Special Issue "Air Pollution Meteorology"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Isidro A. Pérez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Physics, Universidad de Valladolid, 47011 Valladolid, Spain
Interests: air pollution meteorology; micrometeorology; statistics of meteorological observations; climate change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. M. Ángeles García
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Physics, Universidad de Valladolid, 47011 Valladolid, Spain
Interests: air parcel trajectories; air pollution meteorology; climate change; greenhouse gases
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Although air pollution is usually linked with human activities, natural processes may also determine noticeable concentrations of hazardous substances in the low atmosphere. The levels of pollutants may be reduced when emissions can be controlled. However, the impact of meteorological variables on concentrations measured may be marked, and these variables cannot be controlled. This Special Issue is devoted to the influence of meteorological processes on the pollutant concentrations recorded in the low atmosphere. The dilution of pollutants due to the development of the mixing layer or dispersion inhibition by temperature inversions are within the scope of this Issue. Moreover, studies about the influence of wind on concentrations and pollutant transport are welcome, since air parcels from densely polluted areas may reach remote sites where episodes of high concentrations may be observed occasionally and disturb the usual recorded values. Another research field covered by this Issue is the link between air pollution and precipitation. Coastal and mountain breezes introduce periodic changes whose impact on the air pollution should be quantified. Finally, air quality is markedly influenced by the micrometeorology of urban environments. This Special Issue is focused on applied science, and it is conceived to reinforce the knowledge of the contribution of meteorological processes on the concentrations measured in order to achieve a better control of air pollution.

Dr. Isidro A. Pérez
Dr. M. Ángeles García
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2300 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 quality
  • Statistical analysis
  • Micrometeorology
  • Air flow
  • Weather events
  • Air pollution episodes
  • Pollutant dispersion

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Pollution Sources and Carcinogenic Risk of PAHs in PM1 Particle Fraction in an Urban Area
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9587; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249587 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 732
Abstract
Airborne particles are composed of inorganic species and organic compounds. PM1 particles, with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 1 μm, are considered to be important in the context of adverse health effects. Many compounds bound to particulate matter, such as polycyclic aromatic [...] Read more.
Airborne particles are composed of inorganic species and organic compounds. PM1 particles, with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 1 μm, are considered to be important in the context of adverse health effects. Many compounds bound to particulate matter, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), are suspected to be genotoxic, mutagenic, and carcinogenic. In this study, PAHs in the PM1 particle fraction were measured for one year (1/1/2018–31/12/2018). The measuring station was located in the northern residential part of Zagreb, the Croatian capital, close to a street with modest traffic. Significant differences were found between PAH concentrations during cold (January–March, October–December) and warm (April–September) periods of the year. In general, the mass concentrations of PAHs characteristic for car exhausts (benzo(ghi)perylene (BghiP), indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene (IP), and benzo(b)fluoranthene (BbF)) were higher during the whole year than concentrations of fluoranthene (Flu) and pyrene (Pyr), which originated mostly from domestic heating and biomass burning. Combustion of diesel and gasoline from vehicles was found to be one of the main PAH sources. The incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) was estimated for three age groups of populations and the results were much lower than the acceptable risk level (1 × 10−6). However, more than ten times higher PAH concentrations in the cold part of the year, as well as associated health risk, emphasize the need for monitoring of PAHs in PM1. These data represent a valuable tool in future plans and actions to control PAH sources and to improve the quality of life of urban populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Article
Evolution of Urban Haze in Greater Bangkok and Association with Local Meteorological and Synoptic Characteristics during Two Recent Haze Episodes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9499; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249499 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1144
Abstract
This present work investigates several local and synoptic meteorological aspects associated with two wintertime haze episodes in Greater Bangkok using observational data, covering synoptic patterns evolution, day-to-day and diurnal variation, dynamic stability, temperature inversion, and back-trajectories. The episodes include an elevated haze event [...] Read more.
This present work investigates several local and synoptic meteorological aspects associated with two wintertime haze episodes in Greater Bangkok using observational data, covering synoptic patterns evolution, day-to-day and diurnal variation, dynamic stability, temperature inversion, and back-trajectories. The episodes include an elevated haze event of 16 days (14–29 January 2015) for the first episode and 8 days (19–26 December 2017) for the second episode, together with some days before and after the haze event. Daily PM2.5 was found to be 50 µg m−3 or higher over most of the days during both haze events. These haze events commonly have cold surges as the background synoptic feature to initiate or trigger haze evolution. A cold surge reached the study area before the start of each haze event, causing temperature and relative humidity to drop abruptly initially but then gradually increased as the cold surge weakened or dissipated. Wind speed was relatively high when the cold surge was active. Global radiation was generally modulated by cloud cover, which turns relatively high during each haze event because cold surge induces less cloud. Daytime dynamic stability was generally unstable along the course of each haze event, except being stable at the ending of the second haze event due to a tropical depression. In each haze event, low-level temperature inversion existed, with multiple layers seen in the beginning, effectively suppressing atmospheric dilution. Large-scale subsidence inversion aloft was also persistently present. In both episodes, PM2.5 showed stronger diurnality during the time of elevated haze, as compared to the pre- and post-haze periods. During the first episode, an apparent contrast of PM2.5 diurnality was seen between the first and second parts of the haze event with relatively low afternoon PM2.5 over its first part, but relatively high afternoon PM2.5 over its second part, possibly due to the role of secondary aerosols. PM2.5/PM10 ratio was relatively lower in the first episode because of more impact of biomass burning, which was in general agreement with back-trajectories and active fire hotspots. The second haze event, with little biomass burning in the region, was likely to be caused mainly by local anthropogenic emissions. These findings suggest a need for haze-related policymaking with an integrated approach that accounts for all important emission sectors for both particulate and gaseous precursors of secondary aerosols. Given that cold surges induce an abrupt change in local meteorology, the time window to apply control measures for haze is limited, emphasizing the need for readiness in mitigation responses and early public warning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Article
Combining Cluster Analysis of Air Pollution and Meteorological Data with Receptor Model Results for Ambient PM2.5 and PM10
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228455 - 15 Nov 2020
Viewed by 783
Abstract
Air pollution regulation requires knowing major sources on any given zone, setting specific controls, and assessing how health risks evolve in response to those controls. Receptor models (RM) can identify major sources: transport, industry, residential, etc. However, RM results are typically available for [...] Read more.
Air pollution regulation requires knowing major sources on any given zone, setting specific controls, and assessing how health risks evolve in response to those controls. Receptor models (RM) can identify major sources: transport, industry, residential, etc. However, RM results are typically available for short term periods, and there is a paucity of RM results for developing countries. We propose to combine a cluster analysis (CA) of air pollution and meteorological measurements with a short-term RM analysis to estimate a long-term, hourly source apportionment of ambient PM2.5 and PM10. We have developed a proof of the concept for this proposed methodology in three case studies: a large metropolitan zone, a city with dominant residential wood burning (RWB) emissions, and a city in the middle of a desert region. We have found it feasible to identify the major sources in the CA results and obtain hourly time series of their contributions, effectively extending short-term RM results to the whole ambient monitoring period. This methodology adds value to existing ambient data. The hourly time series results would allow researchers to apportion health benefits associated with specific air pollution regulations, estimate source-specific trends, improve emission inventories, and conduct environmental justice studies, among several potential applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Article
Analysis of Alpha Activity Levels and Dependence on Meteorological Factors over a Complex Terrain in Northern Iberian Peninsula (2014–2018)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7967; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217967 - 29 Oct 2020
Viewed by 554
Abstract
Alpha ambient concentrations in ground-level air were measured weekly in Bilbao (northern Spain) by collecting aerosols in filters between 2014 and 2018. Over this period, the alpha activity concentrations in the aerosol’s samples range from 13.9 µBq/m3 to 246.5 µBq/m3, [...] Read more.
Alpha ambient concentrations in ground-level air were measured weekly in Bilbao (northern Spain) by collecting aerosols in filters between 2014 and 2018. Over this period, the alpha activity concentrations in the aerosol’s samples range from 13.9 µBq/m3 to 246.5 µBq/m3, with a mean of 66.49 ± 39.33 µBq/m3. The inter-annual and intra-annual (seasonal and monthly) variations are analyzed, with the highest activity in autumn months and the lowest one in winter months. Special attention has been paid to alpha peak concentrations (weekly concentrations above the 90th percentile) and its relationship with regional meteorological scenarios by means of air mass trajectories and local meteorological parameters. The meteorological analysis of these high alpha concentrations has revealed two airflow patterns-one from the south with land origin and one from the north with maritime origin-mainly associated with these alpha peak concentrations. Surface winds during representative periods of both airflow patterns are also analyzed in combination with 222Rn concentrations, which demonstrated the different daily evolution associated with each airflow pattern. The present results are relevant in understanding trends and meteorological factors affecting alpha activity concentrations in this area, and hence, to control potential atmospheric environmental releases and ensure the environmental and public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Article
Role of Meteorological Parameters in the Diurnal and Seasonal Variation of NO2 in a Romanian Urban Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176228 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 854
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether meteorological parameters (temperature, relative humidity, direct radiation) play an important role in modifying the NO2 concentration in an urban environment. The diurnal and seasonal variation recorded at a NO2 traffic station [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether meteorological parameters (temperature, relative humidity, direct radiation) play an important role in modifying the NO2 concentration in an urban environment. The diurnal and seasonal variation recorded at a NO2 traffic station was analyzed, based on data collected in situ in a Romanian city, Braila (45.26° N, 27.95° E), during 2009–2014. The NO2 atmospheric content close to the ground had, in general, a summer minimum and a late autumn/winter maximum for most years. Two diurnal peaks were observed, regardless of the season, which were more evident during cold months. Traffic is an important contributor to the NO2 atmospheric pollution during daytime hours. The variability of in situ measurements of NO2 concentration compared relatively well with space-based observations of the NO2 vertical column by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite for most of the period under scrutiny. Data for daytime and nighttime (when the traffic is reduced) were analyzed separately, in the attempt to isolate meteorological effects. Meteorological parameters are not fully independent and we used partial correlation analysis to check whether the relationships with one parameter may be induced by another. The correlation between NO2 and temperature was not coherent. Relative humidity and solar radiation seemed to play a role in shaping the NO2 concentration, regardless of the time of day, and these relationships were only partially interconnected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Article
Five Year Trends of Particulate Matter Concentrations in Korean Regions (2015–2019): When to Ventilate?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5764; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165764 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
Indoor air quality becomes more critical as people stay indoors longer, particularly children and the elderly who are vulnerable to air pollution. Natural ventilation has been recognized as the most economical and effective means of improving indoor air quality, but its benefit is [...] Read more.
Indoor air quality becomes more critical as people stay indoors longer, particularly children and the elderly who are vulnerable to air pollution. Natural ventilation has been recognized as the most economical and effective means of improving indoor air quality, but its benefit is questionable when the external air quality is unacceptable. Such risk-risk tradeoffs would require evidence-based guidelines for households and policymakers, but there is a lack of research that examines spatiotemporal long-term air quality trends, leaving us unclear on when to ventilate. This study aims to suggest the appropriate time for ventilation by analyzing the hourly and quarterly concentrations of particulate matter (PM)10 and PM2.5 in seven metropolitan cities and Jeju island in South Korea from January 2015 to September 2019. Both areas’ PM levels decreased until 2018 and rebounded in 2019 but are consistently higher in spring and winter. Overall, the average concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 peaked in the morning, declined in the afternoon, and rebounded in the evening, but the second peak was more pronounced for PM2.5. This study may suggest ventilation in the afternoon (2–6pm) instead of the morning or late evening, but substantial differences across the regions by season encourage intervention strategies tailored to regional characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Article
Statistical Forecast of Pollution Episodes in Macao during National Holiday and COVID-19
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5124; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17145124 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1246
Abstract
Statistical methods such as multiple linear regression (MLR) and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis were used to build prediction models for the levels of pollutant concentrations in Macao using meteorological and air quality historical data to three periods: (i) from 2013 to [...] Read more.
Statistical methods such as multiple linear regression (MLR) and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis were used to build prediction models for the levels of pollutant concentrations in Macao using meteorological and air quality historical data to three periods: (i) from 2013 to 2016, (ii) from 2015 to 2018, and (iii) from 2013 to 2018. The variables retained by the models were identical for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10), PM2.5, but not for ozone (O3) Air pollution data from 2019 was used for validation purposes. The model for the 2013 to 2018 period was the one that performed best in prediction of the next-day concentrations levels in 2019, with high coefficient of determination (R2), between predicted and observed daily average concentrations (between 0.78 and 0.89 for all pollutants), and low root mean square error (RMSE), mean absolute error (MAE), and biases (BIAS). To understand if the prediction model was robust to extreme variations in pollutants concentration, a test was performed under the circumstances of a high pollution episode for PM2.5 and O3 during 2019, and the low pollution episode during the period of implementation of the preventive measures for COVID-19 pandemic. Regarding the high pollution episode, the period of the Chinese National Holiday of 2019 was selected, in which high concentration levels were identified for PM2.5 and O3, with peaks of daily concentration exceeding 55 μg/m3 and 400 μg/m3, respectively. The 2013 to 2018 model successfully predicted this high pollution episode with high coefficients of determination (of 0.92 for PM2.5 and 0.82 for O3). The low pollution episode for PM2.5 and O3 was identified during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic period, with a low record of daily concentration for PM2.5 levels at 2 μg/m3 and O3 levels at 50 μg/m3, respectively. The 2013 to 2018 model successfully predicted the low pollution episode for PM2.5 and O3 with a high coefficient of determination (0.86 and 0.84, respectively). Overall, the results demonstrate that the statistical forecast model is robust and able to correctly reproduce extreme air pollution events of both high and low concentration levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Article
Meteorological Variables and Synoptic Patterns Associated with Air Pollutions in Eastern China during 2013–2018
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2528; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072528 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 926
Abstract
Steady meteorological conditions are important external factors affecting air pollution. In order to analyze how adverse meteorological variables affect air pollution, surface synoptic situation patterns and meteorological conditions during heavy pollution episodes are discussed. The results showed that there were 78 RPHPDs (regional [...] Read more.
Steady meteorological conditions are important external factors affecting air pollution. In order to analyze how adverse meteorological variables affect air pollution, surface synoptic situation patterns and meteorological conditions during heavy pollution episodes are discussed. The results showed that there were 78 RPHPDs (regional PM2.5 pollution days) in Jiangsu, with a decreasing trend year by year. Winter had the most stable meteorological conditions, thus most RPHPDs appeared in winter, followed by autumn and summer, with the least days in spring. RPHPDs were classified into three patterns, respectively, as equalized pressure (EQP), advancing edge of a cold front (ACF) and inverted trough of low pressure (INT) according to the SLP (sea level pressure). RPHPDs under EQP were the most (51%), followed by ACF (37%); INT was the minimum (12%). Using statistical methods and meteorological condition data on RPHPDs from 2013 to 2017 to deduce the thresholds and 2018 as an independent dataset to validate the proposed thresholds, the threshold values of meteorological elements are summarized as follows. The probability of RPHPDs without rain was above 92% with the daily and hourly precipitation of all RPHPDs below 2.1 mm and 0.8 mm. Wind speed, RHs, inversion intensity(ITI), height difference in the temperature inversion(ITK), the lower height of temperature inversion (LHTI) and mixed-layer height (MLH) in terms of 25%–75% high probability range were respectively within 0.5–3.6 m s−1, 55%–92%, 0.7–4.0 °C 100 m −1, 42–576 m, 3–570 m, 200–1200 m. Two conditions should be considered: whether the pattern was EQP, ACF or INT and whether the eight meteorological elements are within the thresholds. If both criteria are met, PM2.5 particles tend to accumulate and air pollution diffusion conditions are poor. Unfavorable meteorological conditions are the necessary, but not sufficient condition for RPHPDs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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Review

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Review
Key Points in Air Pollution Meteorology
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8349; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228349 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 864
Abstract
Although emissions have a direct impact on air pollution, meteorological processes may influence inmission concentration, with the only way to control air pollution being through the rates emitted. This paper presents the close relationship between air pollution and meteorology following the scales of [...] Read more.
Although emissions have a direct impact on air pollution, meteorological processes may influence inmission concentration, with the only way to control air pollution being through the rates emitted. This paper presents the close relationship between air pollution and meteorology following the scales of atmospheric motion. In macroscale, this review focuses on the synoptic pattern, since certain weather types are related to pollution episodes, with the determination of these weather types being the key point of these studies. The contrasting contribution of cold fronts is also presented, whilst mathematical models are seen to increase the analysis possibilities of pollution transport. In mesoscale, land–sea and mountain–valley breezes may reinforce certain pollution episodes, and recirculation processes are sometimes favoured by orographic features. The urban heat island is also considered, since the formation of mesovortices determines the entry of pollutants into the city. At the microscale, the influence of the boundary layer height and its evolution are evaluated; in particular, the contribution of the low-level jet to pollutant transport and dispersion. Local meteorological variables have a major influence on calculations with the Gaussian plume model, whilst some eddies are features exclusive to urban environments. Finally, the impact of air pollution on meteorology is briefly commented on. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Meteorology)
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