Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 100 Cities in the USA

An integrated approach for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from 100 U.S. metropolitan areas (12 page pdf, Samuel A Markolf, H Scott Matthews, Inês L Azevedo and Chris Hendrickson, Environmental Research Letters, Jan. 25, 2017)

Today we review an approach to estimate the emissions for a large number of cities in the USA which has advantages over the traditional bottom-up approach as well as likely being more accurate because it includes production as well as consumption of carbon emissions and fuels. Emissions from individual cities ranged from 5 metric tons per person in Tucson to 65 meteric tons per person in New Orleans. In gross terms, the average emission for the 100 cities examined was 27 million metric tons per year.

Per capita responsibility for current atmosphe...

Per capita responsibility for current atmospheric CO 2 level, including land-use change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Air Pollution from Cruise Ships in Port and at Sea

Hoping for a fresh sea breeze aboard a cruise ship? Better hold your nose! (Karin Jäger, DW Environment, Jan. 26, 2017)

Also discussed here: NABU Cruise Rankings 2016 : Cruise ships fall short in environmental protection (MARES, Sep. 1, 2016)

And here: This stinks! – Clean up cruise ships! NABU’s campaign for a cleaner cruise industry (10 page pdf, NABU Background Cruise Ships, 2015))

And here: NABU measures air pollution in ports (NABU)

And here: Scrubbers – An economic and ecological assessment (45 page pdf, Eelco den Boer, Maarten ‘t Hoen, DELFT for Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), Mar. 13,  2015)

And here: The 0.1% sulphur in fuel requirement as from 1 January 2015 in SECAs (30 page pdf, European Maritime Safety Agency, Dec. 13, 2010)

Today we review examples of pollution from cruise ships both in port and now with previously never measured pollution, at sea. One ship emits as much air pollution over the same distance travelled as 5 million cars. 38% of the NO2 and 19% of particulates in the major German cruise ship port, Hamburg, comes from maritime traffic. Only 80 ships out of 55,000 worldwide have scrubbers installed to reduce the back soot emitted. Most of the 14,000 ships sailing in European SECAs < Sulphur Emission Control Areas>  every year switched to low sulphur fuels instead of installing scrubbers. The UN, through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), has the mandate to regulate the maritime environment internationally through its International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (so-called MARPOL protocol).

cuise-ship-pollution

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How Are Weather Extremes Linked to Climate Change?

Extreme event attribution: the climate versus weather blame game (Rebecca Lindsey, NOAA Climate, Dec. 15, 2016)

Today we review a paper that describes the statistical process of attributing short term weather extreme events to the longer term changes underway as a result of climate change, whether that is due to natural or man-made burning of carbon fuels. It is important to understand the meaning of return periods. While the probability of a 100 year flood in a given year is 1%, the probability of the same flood over a period of 50 years is 40%. The blaming of an event on climate change depends on how good the observations of past events are, how well climate models can simulate the specific event and how well the physical processes are known and their association with climate change. Extended heat or cold events are more attributable than short term convective storms where the cross links are not as well understood.

extreme-events

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Measuring Exposure to Urban Air Pollution Where People Work rather than Where they Live.

The Impact of Mobile-Device-Based Mobility Patterns on Quantifying Population Exposure to Air Pollution (11 page pdf, Marguerite Nyhan, Sebastian Grauwin, Rex Britter, Bruce Misstear, Aonghus McNabola, Francine Laden, Steven R. H. Barrett, and Carlo Ratti, Environmental Science and Trechnology, Aug. 12, 2016)

Also discussed here: Air pollution threat hidden as research ‘presumes people are at home’: study (The Guardian, Aug. 24, 2016)

And here: Urban air pollution is worse than we think—but better data might solve the problem (Barbara Eldredge, CURBED, Aug. 30, 2016)

Today we review research into a study in New York City that compared the exposure to urban air pollution during an active day at the place of work and travelling to that rather than as earlier exposure studies have done only at the place of residence. The results indicate, first of all, that the highest concentration of PM2.5 is not surprisingly in central Brooklyn and Queens and in the southern half of Manhattan Island. Pollution levels at places of work compared to those at residences was 10 μg/m3 higher which suggests that a higher congestion charge be applied to vehicles which enter the high emission zones (which is the basis for the [present congestion charge zone in London, UK) .Future applications of this research when self driving cars are the norm might involve automatically controlling their movement to avoid adding to the pollution levels in some packets of the city.

air-pollution-smart-city-mit-study-nyhan-3

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How Polluted is Rome’s Air?

Assessment of the Air Pollution Level in the City of Rome (Italy) (15 page pdf, Gabriele Battista, Tiziano Pagliaroli, Luca Mauri, Carmine Basilicata and Roberto De Lieto Vollaro, Sustainability, Aug. 23, 2016)

Today we review an assessment of urban pollution in Italy’s largest city, Rome, whose population in the metropolitan area reaches 4.3 million. Emissions from private vehicles, used by 60% of the population, are the main source of pollution, particularly in winter,  with peaks twice daily at rush hour, like many other large cities in the developed world. PM2.5 is one of a small number of pollutants with major health impacts as well as damage to monuments and historical buildings n the urban area which are many in this city with a long history. Reduction or elimination of the post polluting vehicles (Euro class 0,1  and 2) is seen as the most effective way to reduce pollution levels.

rome-obs-stns

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Microspatial Hotspot Variability of Urban Air Pollution

Use of an exposure model to explore the impact of residential proximity to a highway on exposures to air pollutants of an ambient origin (Abstract, Woodrow Pattinson , John Langstaff, Ian Longley, Simon Kingham, Atmospheric Environment, May 2016)

Today we review research into the distribution of air pollution at a higher resolution than many urban studies, looking at how it changes during the day and within neighbourhoods and between streets in New Zealand’s capital city of Auckland. Fixed air monitoring stations either close to traffic or away from it tend to miss high resolution pollution hotspots both in time and space. In this study, a specially instrumented bicycle was used to measure carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM10) over different times of the day and for different streets in an area that was subdivided by a highway with traffic. Results indicated that while emissions from highway traffic dominated the morning rush hour, that the queued stop and go nature of street level pollution reached a peak during the mid-day and afternoon. Studies such as this need to be considered for the placement of populations whose health is at risk due to air pollution, such as early childhood centres and the elderly in retirement homes (which should be separated by at least 100 m from major roads).

bycycle AQ monitoring

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Real-Time Monitoring of Indoor Air Quality

Real-time sensors for indoor air monitoring and challenges ahead in deploying them to urban buildings (11 page pdf, Kumar, P, Skouloudis, AN, Bell, M, Viana, M, Carotta, M-C, Biskos, G and Morawska, L,  Science of the Total Environment, Apr.6, 2016)

Also discussed here: Is your home harming you? New research highlights deadly effects of indoor pollution (ScienceDaily, Apr. 19, 2016)

And here: Indoor Air Quality Monitoring System for Smart Buildings (5 page pf, Xuxu Chen, Yu Zheng, Yubiao Chen, Qiwei Jin, Weiwei Sun, Eric Chang, Wei-Ying Ma

Today we review research into the need for and specifications for monitors to measure indoor air quality which accounts for more deaths globally (4.8 M deaths) than outdoor air quality (3.7 M) and is much less understood by people. People tend to use a number of products such as fragrances, cleaning products etc without being aware of the health risks. Electronic monitors are now available at low economic costs which allow for real-time monitoring at short intervals in ore to detect short spikes and at several locations within a house or building. Another related finding is that outdoor air pollution is highest near the intersection of major roads and as a result, buildings near this location also have higher levels of indoor air pollution- which has implications for the siting of schools, hospitals and offices..

IAQ

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Monitoring China’s Air Pollution from Space

Satellite-Based Spatiotemporal Trends in PM2.5 Concentrations: China, 2004–2013 (9 page pdf, Zongwei Ma, Xuefei Hu, Andrew M. Sayer, Robert Levy, Qiang Zhang, Yingang Xue, Shilu Tong, Jun Bi, Lei Huang,and Yang Liu, Environmental Health Perspectives, Feb. 1, 2016)

Also discussed here: A Clearer Picture of China’s Air (1 page pdf, Nate Seltenrich, Environmental Health Perspectives, Feb.1, 2016)

Today we review measurements of PM 2.5 for China, derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the higher resolution (10 km) MODIS C6 DB AOD data, merged with the sparse ground network data from 2004 to 2013. During that time, the concentration levels of PM2.5 first increased to 2007 and then decreased from 2008 to 2013 except in the central east area of the country (near Beijing) as a result of policy decisions by the government to reduce PM 2.5 emissions. The time series of estimated data also indicated a maximum concentration in winter and a minimum in summer. The research demonstrates the value of satellite measurements to augment and extend surface networks.

monitoring china polltuion

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Why Do We Need to Monitor Water Vapour Globally?

The need for accurate long-term measurements of water vapor in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere with global coverage (20 page pdf, Rolf Muller, Anne Kunz, Dale F. Hurst, Christian Rolf, Martina Kramer, and
Martin Riese1, Earth’s Future, Dec. 30, 20015)

Today we review a journal article calling for the establishment of a global network of upper air balloons to measure water vapour in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. Although water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas it unlike CO2 has a lifetime of only a week or so because of the evaporation/condensation hydrological cycle, compared to a century for CO2 to accumulate in the atmosphere. Despite this water vapour acts as a positive feedback when the air has a higher humidity leading to more convective precipitation as a result of the warming of the earth’s surface.

The global measurement of water vapour on a routine and operational basis lags the networks established earlier for CO2 and Ozone. Ideally, a dedicated upper air balloon network is recommended, augmented by satellite sensors with 2 km resolution to estimate Atmospheric water vapour. Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) is such a network made up of 30-40 sites. Following through on this ask will be important when estimating future climate impacts resulting from warming due to carbon emissions.

water vapour

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Mapping Methane, the Greenhouse Gas

Making methane visible (Abstract, Magnus Gålfalk, Göran Olofsson, Patrick Crill & David Bastviken, Nature Climate Change, Nov. 30, 2015)

Also discussed here: Advanced new camera can measure greenhouse gases (Science Daily, Nov. 30, 2015)
Today we review research from Sweden aimed at detecting methane, a highly radiative and invisible greenhouse gas, whose importance is being heightened by fracking natural gas in North America and elsewhere and the difficulty in measuring and monitoring it as part of climate change mitigation and action plans. The application of the new method uses a camera to record a high resolution spectrum and selects the methane contribution. This may be applied to sewage sludge deposits, combustion processes, animal husbandry and lakes as well as the vast areas of bogs and marshes that make up northern Canada and Russia. The present study used a camera on the ground but plans are to make it airborne for larger scale methane mapping.

detecting methane

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Impacts of Climate Change on Lakes World-Wide

Rapid and highly variable warming of lake surface waters around the globe (O’Reilly, C. M., S. Sharma, D. K. Gray, S. E. Hampton, J. S. Read, R. J. Rowley, P. Schneider, J. D. Lenters, P. B. McIntyre, B. M. Kraemer, et al. (2015), Rapid and highly variable warming of lake surface waters around the globe, Geophys. Res. Lett.,Dec. 16, 2015)
Also discussed here: Satellite data shows that climate change is warming Earth’s lakes (Chris Wood, Gizmag, Dec.17, 2015)

Today we review an article that examines the impact of climate change on lakes around the world, making use of satellite-derived temperatures as well as ground measurements. They reveal that lake temperatures are rising, especially in ice-covered lakes in polar regions by more than what is seen in the increase of air temperatures. This underscores the major impacts for lake ecology (example algae blooms) as a result of climate change, in general, as well as the future potential of fresh water fisheries. The authors suggest that the vulnerability of lakes be included and made an important part of any climate change action plan.

nasa-satellite-data-climate-change-lakes-3
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Where does the Particulate Matter in Cities Come From?

Contributions to cities’ ambient particulate matter (PM): A systematic review of local source contributions at global level (9 page pdf, Federico Karagulian, Claudio A. Belis, Carlos Francisco C. Dora, Annette M. Prüss-Ustün b, Sophie Bonjour b, Heather Adair-Rohani b, Markus Amann, Atmopsheric Environment, Nov. 2015)

Also discussed here: Urban air pollution: What are the main sources across the world? (Science Daily, Dec. 1, 2015)

Today we summarize the results of a paper that reviewed sources of PM2.5 and PM10 in 51 countries. By far the greatest source globally is traffic-related urban air pollution which amounted to 25% of ambient PM. The highest traffic emissions come from North America, Western Europe, Turkey and the Republic of Korea. The highest industrial pollution was found in Japan, Middle East and Southern Asia, Turkey, Brazil, Central Europe, and South Eastern Asia.

pollution sources

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Does it Matter How You Measure Atmospheric Particulate Matter?

An Overview of Particulate Matter Measurement Instruments (Simone Simões Amaral , João Andrade de Carvalho Jr., Maria Angélica Martins Costa and Cleverson Pinheiro, Atmosphere, Sep. 9, 2015)

Today we review a comparison of instruments used to measure particulate matter, one of the most important pollutants produced by human activities, which produces serious environmental and health problems. Two properties are measured: particle size and concentration. The authors conclude that for health-related studies, the Diffusion Charger is best and the ones best suited to measuring ultra fine particles are the Electrical Low Pressure Impactor and the Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer.

English: Preindustrial and contemporary PM2.5 ...

English: Preindustrial and contemporary PM2.5 emissions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Monitoring local energy use from space

Holidays in lights: tracking cultural patterns in demand for energy services (39 page pdf, Miguel O. Román and Eleanor C. Stokes, Earth’s Future , Jun. 2, 2015)

Today we review research aimed at monitoring various cultural responses at the city or neighbourhood scale level in different societies to efforts to reduce electrical power use from carbon fuel sources. The authors made us of three years of daily high resolution satellite data which showed different usage patterns based on different religious holidays (such as Christmas among Christians and Ramadan among Muslins). There appears to be potential for application of this technique to observe human behavior response in other countries world-wide.

Holidays in lights

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Urban Traffic Hotspots of Greenhouse Gas Concentrations

Cities, traffic, and CO2: A multidecadal assessment of trends, drivers, and scaling relationships (6 page pdf, Conor K. Gately, Lucy R. Hutyra, and Ian Sue Wing, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), Apr. 9, 2015)

Also discussed here: Maps pinpoint where cars pollute the most (Barbara Moran-Boston University, Futurity, Apr. 15, 2015)
Today we review research into the contributions that vehicles make to greenhouse gas emissions over the last 33 years on urban roads in the USA where 87% of the counties have low population densities (or are sprawled towns and cities). Results indicate that top-down estimates of national or regional GHG emissions may be as much as 50% in error unless these emissions are estimated at the scale of roads and streets (approx 1 km resolution) as opposed to estimating them from population only. The authors suggest that the contributions from on-road emissions will likely increase as population and road densities increase in the future, suggesting that carbon policy makers focus on per capita emissions (which in turn would be linked to low or high driving rates) to capture the greater emissions from urban hotspots.

CO2_map_770

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Where are Europe’s Air Pollution Hotspots and How are they being Cleaned Up?

Modelling street level PM10 concentrations across Europe: source apportionment and possible futures (15 page pdf, Kiesewetter, G., Borken-Kleefeld, J., Schöpp, W., Heyes, C., Thunis, P., Bessagnet, B., Terrenoire, E., Fagerli, H., Nyiri, A., and Amann, M., Atmos. Chem. Phys., Feb. 13, 2015)

Also discussed here: Clearing up Europe’s air pollution hotspots (News, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Feb 19, 2015)
Today we review modeling sources of ambient air pollution across Europe down to the street canyon scale (using the GAINS, model developed by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) as measured by 1850 monitoring stations (including 300 traffic stations) and then applying various policy scenarios. Results indicate the while most areas show improvement over the next two decades, some continue to remain below EU air quality limits, specifically, southern Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, northern Italy, and Bulgaria. Adherence to these limits require more than vehicle emission controls such as introduction of low emission zones, improved road materials and road dust removal and eliminating studded tires and controlling emissions from home heating fuels such as wood burning.

europe hot spots

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Monitoring Air Pollution Exposure with a Smart Phone

Variability in and Agreement between Modeled and Personal Continuously Measured Black Carbon Levels Using Novel Smartphone and Sensor Technologies (Abstract, Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, David Donaire-Gonzalez, Ioar Rivas, Montserrat de Castro, Marta Cirach, Gerard Hoek, Edmund Seto, Michael Jerrett, Jordi Sunyer, Environmental Science & Technology, Feb, 2015)

Also discussed here: Turning smartphones into personal, real-time pollution monitors  (ScienceDaily, Feb.18, 2015)

Today we review an article that describes a project at Barcelona in southern Spain involving the monitoring of exposure by 50 children from 29 schools using a smart phone and a sensor to measure black carbon during the day- at home, commuting to school and in school. While only 4% of their time was spent commuting, exposure was 13% of the daily total and this also had the highest levels while the levels at home were the lowest. cell phone aq To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Global Estimates of Fine Particulate Matter from Space

The View from Afar – Satellite-Derived Estimates of Global PM2.5 (1 page pdf, Environmental Health Perspectives, Feb. 2, 2015)

Today we review research into recent global estimates of PM2.5 using space based sensors. Over the last decade, a trend toward worsening conditions in South and East Asia (with 51% more of the population exposed to pollution above WHO guidelines rose to 70%) and slightly improved conditions in the eastern USA and Canada (where the exposed population declined from 62% to 19%) was estimated from these satellite observations at a 10 km resolution. The authors expect in future that similar estimates may be made of NO2 concentrations at an improved resolution which may be more helpful in pin pointing urban pollution conditions and their sources.

pm for USa china

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Estimating Health Risks from Air Pollution Using Fixed Sites or Personal Monitors

Estimating risk of emergency room visits for asthma from personal versus fixed site measurements of NO2  (6 page pdf, Scott Weichenthal, Patrick Bélisle, Eric Lavigne, Paul J. Villeneuve, Amanda Wheeler, Xiaohong Xu, Lawrence Joseph, Environmental Research, Feb. 2015)
Today we review research from Windsor, Ontario which compared the exposure to NO2 from an Ogawa personal exposure meter to daily exposure estimated from a fixed nearby measurement site, part of the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) network and in reference to emergency asthmatic cases. Results indicated that next to zero correlation between the two values from a sample of almost 1,000 measurements. The authors concluded that more attention must be paid to how exposure to pollution is estimated for risk estimates in epidemiological studies. This has significant implications for urban air quality network design as well.

 

An air quality measurement station in Edinburg...

An air quality measurement station in Edinburgh, Scotland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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A Check List for Managing Urban Air Quality

Growing Public Health Concerns from Poor Urban Air Quality: Strategies for Sustainable Urban Living (9 page pdf, Bhaskar Kura, Suruchi Verma, Elena Ajdari, Amrita Iyer, Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering, Apr. 2013)

Today we review a paper that zeroes in on the issue of urban air pollution and its health impacts, identifying which pollutants cause the greatest harm and what to do about that in terms of identifying and controlling pollution sources. Given that a million premature deaths and another million pre-native deaths are linked to urban air pollution, along with 2-5% GDP costs for developed and developing countries respectively, much more attention is needed at the municipal level now.

urban aq manageemnt

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How Can Smart Phones Measure Exposure to Air Pollution?

Using Personal Sensors to Assess the Exposome and Acute Health Effects  (15 page pdf, Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen, David Donaire-Gonzalez, Maria Foraster, David Martinez and Andres Cisneros, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Aug. 6, 2014)

Also discussed here: Variability in and Agreement between Modelled and Personal Continuously Measured Black Carbon Levels Using Novel Smartphone and Sensor Technologies ( Abstract, Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen, David Donaire-Gonzalez, Ioar Rivas , Montserrat de Castro, Marta Cirach, Gerard Hoek, Edmund Seto, Michael Jerrett, Jordi Sunyer, Environ Sci Technol, Jan. 26, 2015)

And here: Researchers detect students are exposed to high levels of air pollution during trips to school (Press Release, CREAL, Jan. 29, 2015)

Today we review research into the personal exposure of students during the day to air pollution, using a smart-phone and various sensors stashed away in a backpack carried by the students. Results indicates that pollution levels on the way to school were twice as high as at home largely because of the closer proximity to vehicle emissions. cell phone aq

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Detecting Gases Cheaply Without the Need for Electrical Power

Wireless gas detection with a smartphone via rf communication (Abstract, Joseph M. Azzarelli, Katherine A. Mirica, Jens B. Ravnsbæk, and Timothy M. Swager, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Dec.8, 2014)

Also discussed here: Detecting gases wirelessly, cheaply (ScienceDaily, Dec.8, 2014)

Today we review a paper that describes the adaptation of a device or “chemiresistors” that had been used to detect chemicals in order to track the progress of new cars and pharmaceutical products during manufacture or provide an alert for explosives . The adaptation means that, without the need for electric power, it can detect gases, such as hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, if they are present within 6 cm and then wirelessly alert a receiver such as a smartphone where the data can be captured an analysed. It makes use of the properties of the sensing metallic surface whose electrical resistance changes with exposure to specific gases. The potential of expanding their use to sensing other gases needs to be examined.

wireless sensor

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Monitoring Air Pollution .. with an Umbrella?

Track Air Pollution With This Smart Umbrella (Carey Dunne, FastCoDesign, Jun. 26, 2014)

Also discussed here: Smart umbrellas keep you dry and check the air you breathe(Nicola Davis , the guardian, The Observer, Jun. 19, 2014)

And here: Track Air Pollution With This Smart Umbrella (FastCoDesign)

And here: Share hyperlocal air pollution data with Sensing Umbrella (Zoe Romano, Arduino, Jul. 16, 2014)
And here: Sensing Umbrella (Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Jun. 2014)

Today we note the innovative design of an umbrella that monitors carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, two of the main toxic air pollutants in many traffic-clogged cities. The idea which came from two students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design is intended for use by the larger public to both collect data easily and then have it automatically shared via Wi-Fi for potential application in mapping urban pollution or making pollution levels known in near real-time.

sensing umbrella

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How is Exposure to Pollution affected by Where the Pollution is Measured?

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, ...

Before the Air Pollution Control Act of 1955, air pollution was not considered a national environmental problem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Identifying exposure disparities in air pollution epidemiology specific to adverse birth outcomes (4 page pdf, Laura A Geer, Environmental Research Letters, Oct. 8, 2014)

Today we review a short research note that pointed out that almost half of the population of the USA live in areas with higher air pollution levels than standards allow. At the same time, standard reference air quality monitors tend to be located in high pollution areas and also in areas where certain sectors of the population live, some of whom are more vulnerable to those impacts- such as pregnant women with low incomes. Unless these biases are taken into account, general conclusions drawn may exaggerate the impacts. This suggests both more care in monitor siting and allowance for bias in population exposure.

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Sharpening the Spatial Resolution of Exposure to Particulate Matter

Spatio-temporal modeling of particulate air pollution in the conterminous United States using geographic and meteorological predictors (34 page pdf, Jeff D Yanosky, Christopher J Paciorek, Francine Laden, Jaime E Hart, Robin C Puett, Duanping Liao and Helen H Suh, Environmental Health, Aug. 5, 2014)

Today we review a paper describing how a statistical model can be used to provide the necessary spatial detail on the exposure to particulate matter. Knowing this is especially important near major roads in urban areas where there is a high volume of diesel powered vehicles which emit PM2.5 and where the distance from the emission sources to where people live or work is critical. The authors show examples of the mapping for cities such as New York as well as across the USA.

high resolution PM in NYC

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Monitoring Roadside Pollution with Sensors on Bikes

Cyclists will monitor air pollution in Hamilton (CBC News, Mar. 13, 2014)

Also discussed here: Bicycle Air Monitoring Program – Pittsburg (GASP)

Today we review two citizen initiatives in Hamilton and Pittsburg to monitor air pollution levels along roads and bike paths used by cyclists in these cities. The program that began first in Pittsburg with the Group Against Air Pollution and Smog, collects and displays the Particulate Matter on maps of the urban core in real-time. The Bicycling Air Monitoring program in Hamilton just began on June 26 with over 60 cyclists volunteering to use the 20 GPS and air monitors which were funded with only $25 K from contributions from volunteers and a local city Councillor. These data fill gaps in the map of air pollution measured by much more expensive provincial air quality monitors (over $250K each) or by using a specialized mobile van dedicated to roadside monitoring.

pittsburg pollution

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Do We Need to Monitor Global Greenhouse Gases Emissions from Space?

Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) (NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Also discussed here: CO2 Monitoring Could Be “Space-Based” in Future (Bobby Magill, Climate Central, May 29, 2014)
And here: Multiscale observations of CO2, 13CO2, and pollutants at Four Corners for emission verification and attribution (6 page pdf, Rodica Lindenmaier, Manvendra K. Dubey, Bradley G. Henderson, Zachary T. Butterfield, Jay R. Herman, Thom Rahn and Sang-Hyun Lee,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), May 19, 2014)
And here: The President’s Climate Action Plan (White House, USA, Jun. 2013)
And here: Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units (645 page pdf, Environmental Protection Agency, USA, Jun. 2, 2014)
Today we review progress toward monitoring CO2 for the entire earth from a space-based platform, an approach that began in 2001 using the SCIAMACHY imaging spectrometer on the ENVISAT European satellite. In developed countries such as the USA, China or Canada, the main sources of CO2are either large coal or natural gas-burning plants or the emissions from heating/cooling building and vehicle emissions in urban areas which collectively contribute 80% of each countries emissions. Monitoring these emissions from the point sources is a complicated and time consuming task.

Recent research indicated that space based estimates of the CO2 found in columns extended to the earth’s surface compare well with ground based measurements. Plans to launch an improved sensor, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) on July 1, 2014, combined with the commitment by the United States to reduce CO2 emissions from coal plants and other point sources and the need to monitor emissions globally validates the requirement for better space based estimates which are more efficiently collected and probably more accurate than the accumulated ground-based estimates.

OCO_column

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How Congested with Traffic are Canadian Cities?

TomTom Americas Traffic Index (74 page pdf, TomTom, Jun. 3, 2014)

Also discussed here: TomTom Live Traffic

And here: Vancouver home to worst gridlock in Canada (CTV News, Jun. 3, 2014)
Today we review the latest report on Traffic Congestion by the GPS-maker, TomTom. The three worst cities in Canada are Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa where the average driver with a 30 minute commute encounters as much as 87 hours of delay each year. TomTom also produces real-time, live traffic congestion maps, such as the one shown below for Ottawa during the morning rush hour. The reddened areas indicate where there is a need for congestion charging to lower and redistribute peak traffic flow away from these road segments.

congestion Ottawa

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Another Use of SmartPhones to Monitor Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP)

Measuring fine dust concentration via smartphone (ScienceDaily, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, May 23, 2014)
Also discussed here: Enabling low-cost particulate matter measurement for participatory sensing scenarios (Abstract, Matthias Budde, Rayan El Masri, Till Riedel ,Michael Beigl, Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, Dec. 2, 2013)

And here:

(2 min You-Tube, KIT Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, May 21, 2014)

Today we review PhD research from Germany that describes how a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)dust sensor can be attached to a smart phone, making use of its camera to measure the scattering of light and estimate the concentration of particulate matter (PM10) with an accuracy of one microgram per cubic meter. Readings may then be transmitted via cell phone to a central point where a number of other phone measurements can be mapped in near real-time and add to the more sophisticated (and expensive) observations from the few government air quality stations.

smart phone dust sensor

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How Polluted are the World’s Cities?

Ambient (outdoor) air pollution database, by country and city (Excel data base, World Health Organization, May 7, 2014)

Also discussed here:  Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in cities database 2014 (World Health Organization, May 7, 2014)

And here: Air quality deteriorating in many of the world’s cities (Press Release, World Health Organization, May 7, 2014)

And here: Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health (World Health Organization, Fact sheet N°313, Updated March 2014)

And here: Top 20 most polluted cities in the world (Madison Park, CNN, May 8, 2014)

Today we review a report from the World Health Organization that presents the state of air quality in 1600 cities world-wide in an Excel data base that is easy to manipulate. Only 1/8th of the cities surveyed meet WHO guidelines for fine particulate matter (PM). Those that do better (examples Bogota, Colombia and Copenhagen, Denmark) do it by actively promoting cycling and walking. 88% of the 3.7 million premature deaths/ year because of air pollution occur in low and middle income countries and most of these are in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia. 7 out of the 10 most polluted cities with the highest levels of particulate matter (PM10) are in Pakistan (Pakistan: Peshwar, Rawalindi and Karachi) or India (Gwalior, Ahvaz, Raipur and Delhi) while all 10 of the least polluted cities are in the USA (mainly in the southwest). Even in regions such as Europe, where WHO guidelines are generally met, lives are shortened by 8.6 months because of exposure to PM.

pm in world cities

PM10: Fine particulate matter of 10 microns or less; Amr: America, Afr: Africa; Emr: Eastern Mediterranean, Sear: South-East Asia, Wpr: Western Pacific; LMI: Low- and middle-income; HI: high-income. PM10 values are regional urban population-weighted.

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Monitoring Personal Pollution Exposure and Location with a GPS

Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and temperature data to generate time-activity classifications for estimating personal exposure in air monitoring studies: an automated method(21 page pdf, Elizabeth Nethery Gary Mallach, Daniel Rainham. Mark S Goldberg, Amanda J Wheeler, Environmental Health, May 8, 2014)

exposure by gps

Today we review research that looks at the advantages offered by a GPS and a PM2.5 particulate sensor to monitor 70 children and the pollution sources and durations they are exposed to over 10 days. The pollution sources vary between indoors and outdoors, using transit or driving, as well as in proximity to roadside emissions in the large metropolitan area that Montreal is. This approach improves upon the data that can be collected from a personal pollution exposure sensor that only produces the total pollution exposure over a given time period by breaking down the exposure by location. The use of a GPS also precludes the need to keep a diary as well as offering more convenience and accuracy, and possibly an effective way of monitoring larger populations for longer periods- if smart phones with a sensor were used for example..

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How can Mobile Phones be used to Estimate Air Pollution Exposure?

Mobile phone tracking: in support of modelling traffic-related air pollution contribution to individual exposure and its implications for public health impact assessment(26 page pdf, Hai-Ying Liu , Erik Skjetne, Mike Kobernus, Environmental Health, Nov. 4, 2013)

Today we review a paper that explores an approach that uses personal mobile phones equipped with GPS tracking ability to estimate the exposure of a group of individuals to air pollution and make these estimates available in real-time at low cost. Such a method could be applied in developing countries where expensive monitoring equipment is often unaffordable. The potential of gathering information such as this from a wide segment of society also opens up very large opportunities for progress in public health by collective tracking of large numbers of people.

mobile phone process

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Is there a Low-Cost Monitor to Measure Roadside Urban Emissions in Real-Time?

A Novel Method for Reliable Long-term Assessment of Exposure to Traffic-related Air Pollution Mixtures(Abstract, Natalia Mykhaylova, Kelly Sabaliauskas, Jon M Wang, Ezzat Jaroudi, Cheol-Heon Jeong, Jeff Brook, Greg J. Evans, American Association for Aerosol Research 32nd Annual Conference, Sep. 30-Oct.4, 2013)

Also discussed here: The Geography of Pollution – A PhD candidate’s low-cost sensors could be deployed across cities to gather highly local air-quality data (John Lorinc, UofT Magazine, Autumn 2013)

And here: Is Air Quality Affecting Your Health? – A U of T prof is looking at the relationship between traffic emissions, health and how close people live to major roads(John Lorinc, UofT Magazine, Jan. 11, 2013)

And here: Illness Costs of Air Pollution- Phase II:Estimating Health and Economic Damages(221 page pdf, submitted to Ontario Medical Association by DSS Management Consultants Inc, Jul. 26, 2000)

And here: The expanding scope of air pollution monitoring can facilitate sustainable development(Abstract, Knox A, Mykhaylova N, Evans GJ, Lee CJ, Karney B, Brook JR., Sci Total Environ. Mar. 15, 2013)

Today we look at a low-cost air quality monitor, developed at the University of Toronto, with the aim “to encourage local governments to deploy commercial versions of these low-cost devices in large numbers around urban areas as a way of generating a much more nuanced and up-to-the-minute picture of the invisible geography of pollution”. This is part of a larger research project aimed at assessing the health risks of roadside air pollution in Canada’s largest city where more than 2,000 people die prematurely each year according to the Illness Costs of Air Pollution (ICAP) model developed by the Ontario Medical Association and widely recognized by established authorities (such as the Auditor General of Canada and the Commissioner for the Environment  for Ontario). The sensors provide a required precision of 5 to 15 ppb for O3 and NO2, 20 microgm/m3 for PM 2.5 and the entire cost of the unit is expected to be under $300.

airquality_480

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How to Monitor Urban Air Pollution? Go Fly a Kite!

Kite detects pollution, shines light on Beijing smog (Holden Frith, for CNN, Sep. 4, 2013)

Also discussed here: FLOAT Beijing

And here: Stars in the Haze(6 mi documentary video, Joshua Frank, Dec. 20, 2012)

Today we review a description of an award-winning project by a graduate student at Harvard University which adds air quality sensors (for ozone, carbon monoxide and particulates) to kites along with a display of trailing lights that indicates the relative pollution in real-time  to those below.

float beijing

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Monitoring Pollution Near Multi-Lane Highways

Freeway air pollution travels farther in early morning(Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 17, 2013)

Also discussed here: Air board will start monitoring pollution next to SoCal freeway(Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 25, 2013)

And here: EPA’s Remarkable New Air Pollution Monitors (I’m like a Kid in a Candy Store(Gretchen Goldman, Union of Concerned Scientists, Aug. 29, 2013)

And here: A wide area of air pollutant impact downwind of a freeway during pre-sunrise hour(Abstract, ·  Shishan Hu, Scott Fruin, Kathleen Kozawa, Steve MaraSuzanne E. PaulsonArthur M. Wine, Atmospheric Environment, May 2009)

Today we review news that the Environmental  Protection Agency will be implementing a program to monitor air quality  within 160 ft of major roadways for the 100 largest cities in the US. This comes as more and more research indicate both the health risks produced by exposure to those who live near roadways (even at sunrise before peak rush hour traffic) and the extent to which pollution from the highways drift downstream (1.2 km).

freeway pollution

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What is the Future of Local Air Quality Management in the UK?

Review of Effectiveness of LA AQAP and Future Policy Options for LAQM(64 page pdf, Stephen Moorcroft (AQC) and Chris Dore (Aether), Air Quality Consultants Ltd, June 2013) 

Also discussed here: Review of Local Air Quality Management in England(Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, June 2013)

Today we review a two month consultation process (to end in September 2013)aimed at the future of local air quality management in the 250 cities in the UK which have agreed to Local Air Quality Management(LAQM) agreements since the enabling Act was passed in 1995 in response to concern about health impacts. A review was made of the effectiveness of the present system by interviews with 20 selected municipal authorities. The main outcome of the review was a lack of significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide, the main emission from vehicles, and without this, there is a question – especially from “non technical” people (one thinks of politicians), as opposed to those experienced in transportation – as to the effectiveness of the program to reduce health impacts. The conclusions seem to point to the need for a hybrid reduced emission-driven system that combines local hot spot management with authority-wide regulation and better communication of results to the public.

English: An Air Quality Monitoring Station abo...

English: An Air Quality Monitoring Station above the M42. This Air Quality Monitoring Station is in Shadowbrook Lane, on a bridge above the M42. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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What Improvements Are Needed to Regulate Urban Air Quality?

Air Implementation Pilot – Lessons learnt from the implementation of air quality legislation at urban level(76page pdf, European Environment Agency, Jun. 5, 2013)

Today we review a report from the European Commission on a pilot project carried out in 12 cities to assess and make recommendations on the deficiencies and next steps to address the threats to human health from urban air pollution. Despite (or perhaps because of) the enactment of more restrictive regulations than seen elsewhere in the world, several pollutants remain above thresholds (O3, PM2.5 and NO2 in particular), gaps remain in emission inventories and networks and the principal solution lies in regulating traffic. Recommendations include putting a much greater focus on data, distributing information to the public and carrying out regular health impact assessments.

vienna traffic NO2

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Where Does China’s Air Pollution Come From?

Source Forensics of Black Carbon Aerosols from China(Abstract, Bing Chen, August Andersson , Meehye Lee, Elena N. Kirillova , Qianfen Xiao , Martin Kruså, Meinan Shi , Ke Hu , Zifeng Lu , David G. Streets , Ke Du, and Örjan Gustafsson, Environmental Science and Technology, Jul. 11, 2013)

Also discussed here: Researchers Constrain the Sources of Climate and Health-Afflicting Air Pollution from China(Science Daily, Aug. 8, 2013)

Today we review research on the top sources of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the country considered by many to be the most polluted in the world.  Results indicate that this is not emissions of Black Carbon from cooking food in homes and restaurants- so-called biomass sources-  but from the burning of coal in cities and from vehicle emissions in traffic. This will allow authorities to plan for efficient mitigation of climate change because Black Carbon has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere (days, weeks) than other greenhouse gases, such as CO2 (decades, centuries).

china soot

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Real-time Personal Air Pollution Monitor

This Device Knows How Air Pollution Is Affecting You Right Now(Co.Exist)

Also discussed here: (7 min video)


And here: My Air, My Health Challenge
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service)

Today we review a report on an air quality monitor that can be worn around the neck, showing the state of air pollution which the wearer is exposed to during a day, taking into account breathing frequency and relative pollutant concentration, shown on a real-time electronic display- all for a cost estimated at around $150. The invention recently won top prize from the “My Air, My Health Challenge“, conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Service.
Aq sensor

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Filling Gaps in Lifetime Exposure to Air Pollution

Imputation method for lifetime exposure assessment in air pollution epidemiologic studies (28 page pdf, Jan Beyea, Steven D Stellman, Susan Teitelbaum, Irina Mordukhovich, Marilie D Gammon, Environmental Health, Aug. 7, 2013)

Today we review several techniques aimed at filling gaps in the environmental record, especially those which are important because of the health impacts that may occur early (or late) in life or by proximity to higher pollution exposure. Examples include use of meteorological diffusion modeling applied to road segments and intersections and the use of surrogate doses which otherwise could be hidden or masked when applying the existing monitoring record with data gaps.

relative concentration

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Measuring NO2 from Urban Vehicle Emissions with Infra-Red and Ultraviolet Remote Sensors

Remote sensing of NO2 exhaust emissions from road vehicles(93 page pdf, David Carslaw and Glyn Rhys-Tyler, DEFRA Project Reference:332c2011 (City of London Corporation) , 334c2011 (London Borough of Ealing) , May 2013)

Also discussed here: Remote sensing of NO2 exhaust emissions from road vehicles(King’s College London News, Jun. 12, 2013)

Today we review research on measuring NO2 emissions from EU standard and diesel vehicles using remote sensors on roadways in London. Results show that while NO2 concentrations have slowly decreased over the last decade due to more stringent EU standards, there has not been a similar improvement in diesel vehicles. For the latter, care must be taken in reducing NO2 that increases in Particulate Matter (PM) are avoided.

remote sensor londonno2 for eu class and diesel

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Measuring Urban Pollution with a Mobile Air Quality Van

Elucidating multipollutant exposure across a complex metropolitan area by systematic deployment of a mobile laboratory(43 page pdf, I. Levy, C. Mihele, G. Lu, J. Narayan, N. Hilker, and J. R. Brook, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., Dec.7, 2012)

Today we review a description of one of the world’s leading mobile labs taking measurements of air quality in the large city of Montreal where vehicle emissions is among the leading pollution sources in addition to industrial sources and the heating of buildings in winter.  The validity of a few regional ambient air quality stations to describe the state of the air across this city (and one imagines in many other cities) was challenged by differences of 200-300% between the ambient measurements and those taken with the mobile lab in and near traffic. The importance of using monitors such as this for assessing health impacts near roads is clear.

mobile van

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Bicycle Boulevards for Cleaner Air

Cyclist route choice, traffic-related air pollution, and lung function: a scripted exposure study(24 page pdf, Sarah Jarjour, Michael Jerrett, Dane Westerdahl, Audrey Nazelle, Cooper Hanning, Laura Daly, Jonah Lipsitt, John Balmes , Environmental Health, Feb. 7,  2013)

Today we review research on the exposure of cyclists to pollution while commuting on urban streets in Berkeley, California. Comparisons were made between conditions on special cyclist routes along low traffic corridors – bicycle boulevards–  with those on major roadways. Results indicate significantly lower exposure while on roads with low traffic and outside of rush hours.

bike emissions

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Monitoring Roadside Air Pollution and Urban Health Impacts

Evolution of Air Pollution Monitoring in Ottawa (60 slide ppt, Natty Urquizo and Martha Robinson, Upwind Downwind Conference 2012, Hamilton, ON, Feb. 27, 2012)

or in pdf format here:evolution of air pollution monitoring in ottawa

Also discussed here: Ottawa Air Quality Information System(10 page pdf, Natividad Urquizo, Daniel Spitzer, William Pugsley and Martha Robinson, 44th Annual Congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Ottawa, ON, May 29-June 4, 2010)

And here: Mapping Small Scale Air Pollution Distribution using Satellite Observations an a Large Canadian City(6 page pdf, Natividad Urquizo; D. Spitzer; W. Pugsley and M. Robinson, 11th Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry of the annual conference of the American Meteorological Society at Phoenix AZ, Jan. 12, 2009)

And here: Is Air Quality Affecting Your Health?(John Lorinc, UofT Magazine, Jan. 11, 2013)

Today we review a paper presented at the biannual Upwind-Downwind Conference in Hamilton that describes the development of a fairly unique urban air quality program. The program was given a boost in 2007 by a project that combined satellite air quality data  from space with observations from a dozen ground stations to produce maps at 10 km resolution at 10 minute intervals for a year over the national capital area (which includes the twin cities of Ottawa and Gatineau). Further applications of these data with real-time traffic flow data allowed for mapping down to the street level in downtown Ottawa and assessments of health impacts near these roads which showed that over 50% of schools and old age homes are located within 50 m of heavy traffic, placing the most vulnerable residents at risk from vehicle emissions. A new program has just been announced by the University of Toronto to examine similar applications of roadside emissions and health impacts in Canada’s largest city.

ottawa proximity to traffic.jpg

roadside map

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Vehicle Emissions and Water Quality

Understanding Atmospheric Deposition in Tampa Bay(3 page pdf, Bay Region Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (BRACE))

Also discussed here: From the Tailpipe to Tampa Bay: Air Pollution Research Reveals Impact of Cars(Bradenton Times, Dec. 17, 2012)

Vehicle emissions not only cause harmful health impacts for people near them but they also affect the quality of the water near urban areas by adding nitrogen dioxides to the water off the coast which promotes algae growth, starving the fish of oxygen. Today we review a report from Tampa on the amount of nitrogen oxides reaching the water from the atmosphere, mainly from vehicle emissions that pollute Tampa Bay. Many of the same strategies for improving urban air quality on land apply here as well for water quality: more low emission vehicles, more monitoring of dry deposition and reestablish atmospheric monitoring stations. As EPA notes: “driving a car is a typical citizen’s most polluting daily activity.”

tampa mapno2 and tampa

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What Can London do to Improve its Air Quality?

English: view from Grange Road over parts of S...

English: view from Grange Road over parts of SE London Haze / air pollution is quite apparent even at 9/ 10 o’clock on a bright and breezy day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Air pollution in London – issues paper(19 page pdf, Health and Environment Committee,  London Assembly, D3ec. 10, 2012)

Also discussed here: Air pollution in London – issues paper(Health and Environment Committee, London Assembly, D3ec. 10, 2012)

London’s air pollution continues to be a concern for local and national authorities following the 2012 Olympic Games when it was a major issue (as it was in Beijing China in the last summer games four years earlier) with over 4,000 premature deaths each year in the city and health impacts across the UK of  to £20 billion a year. Today, we review a report from the City of London’s Health and Environment Committee on how bad it is from measurements by the 100 monitors and what is needed to have improvements. The focus of recommendations is to reduce particulate pollution by further controls on diesel vehicles, focus attention on NO2 vehicle emissions which exceeded the EU threshold of 40 ugm/m3 concentration at all roadside monitoring locations and find ways to increase walking and cycling instead of driving.

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Satellite Monitoring of Air Pollution in the World’s MegaCities

AOD trends over megacities based on space monitoring using MODIS and MISR(11 page pdf, Pinhas Alpert, Olga Shvainshtein, and Pavel Kishcha, American Journal of Climate Change, Nov. 2012)

Also discussed here: Tracking Pollution from Outer Space: Team Uses NASA Satellites to Measure Pollution Hovering Over World’s Megacities(ScienceDaily, Nov. 27, 2012)

Today we review research that used three different satellite sensors to estimate atmospheric optical depth for 189 large cities world-wide over an eight year period. One big advantage of this method is that it gets away from the sometimes non standard or inconsistent pollution monitors on the earth’s surface. Another is that trends in air quality in various cities can be measured and compared using the saem equipment. While cities in Southeast Asia and Northeast USA show an improvement, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Northern China show deteriorating air quality. This approach looks very promising for future monitoring on a global basis.

satellite aq megacities

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Air Pollution in Mediterranean MegaCities

Megacities as hot spots of air pollution in the East Mediterranean(45 page pdf, Maria Kanakidou, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, Tayfun Kindap, Ulas Im, Mihalis Vrekoussis, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Eirini Dermitzaki, Alper Unal, Mustafa Koçak, Kostas Markakis, Dimitris Melas, Georgios Kouvarakis, Ahmed F. Youssef, Andreas Richter, Nikolaos Hatzianastassiou, Andreas Hilboll, Felix Ebojie, Folkard Wittrock, Christian von Savigny, John P. Burrows, Annette Ladstaetter-Weissenmayer, Hani Moubasher, Atmos. Environ., Nov. 30, 2010)

Also discussed here: Impacts of East Mediterranean megacity emissions on air quality( 21 page pdf, U. Im and M. Kanakidou, Atmos. Phy. July 23, 2012)

And here: Mediterranean capital pollution has far-reaching effects on air quality(Science for Environment Policy, Nov. 22, 2012)

Today we review research that examines the state of air pollution in several eastern Mediterranean magacities (Cairo, Istanbul, Athens – over 10M population) and the impact of some mitigation strategies on the cities as well as on the surrounding region. What is special about these urban areas is the combination of a large number of vehicles which often lack catalytic coverts or particulate filters and the year round impact of very warm temperatures which exacerbate the air pollution, especially ozone.
med aq

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Monitoring and Mapping Roadside Emissions in London

Air Pollution Monitoring and Mining Based on Sensor Grid in London (23 page pdf, Yajie Ma, Mark Richards, Moustafa Ghanem, Yike Guo and John Hassard, Sensors, Jun1. 2008)

Also discussed here: (8.5 min video, Institute of Physics, Imperial College London, Mar. 16, 2012)

And here:  A Wireless Sensor Network Air Pollution Monitoring System – arXiv (Kavi K. Khedo, Rajiv Perseedoss and Avinash Mungur, International Journal of Wireless & Mobile Networks, May 2010)

Today we review research from London, UK,  aimed at monitoring vehicle emissions using a relatively low cost approach that makes use of the spectral discrimination of absorption of UV wavelength by various pollutants to estimate roadside pollution levels. This type of instrument (named “GUSTO”) may be combined in a network to produce pollution maps that show how and where high and low levels are produced during the day- and how these in turn may affect health of vulnerable populations such as at schools.

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How Do Skyscrapers Affect Where Urban Pollution Goes?

Wind tunnel investigation of the downwash effect of a rooftop structure on plume dispersion(Abstract, Amit Gupta, Ted Stathopoulos, Patrick Saathoff, Atmospheric Environment, Jan. 2012)

Also discussed here: Air Pollution, Gone With the Wind: Proposed New Building Guidelines to Clean Up the Air We Breath(Science Daily, Nov. 1, 2012)

And here: Tracer Gas dispersion in an Urban Environment:Scaling Considerations in wind tunnel testing(13 page pdf, Amit Gupta, Ted Stathopoulos, Journal of Wind and Engineering, Jan. 2012)

And here: Air pollution, gone with the wind -Concordia researchers propose new building guidelines to clean up city air(University Communications Services, Concordia University, Nov. 2, 2012)

And here: Why skyscrapers are polluting our cities(FirstPost, Nov. 2, 2012)

Today we review award winning research in Montreal that uses wind tunnels to examine the circulation of pollution from one building to another. Suggested solutions include better spacing between buildings and better location of air vents.

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