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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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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Modelling Emissions from Stop-and-Start Traffic Congestion

A congestion sensitive approach to modelling road networks for air quality management (Abstract, James O’Brien; Anil Namdeo; Margaret Bell; Paul Goodman, Int. J. of Environment and Pollution, Dec. 2014)
Also discussed here: Stop-start driving in city centres creates higher pollution levels (Phys Org, Dec. 12, 2014)

And here: New regional traffic model to combat urban road congestion (Phys Org, Jan. 9, 2014)

And here:  Verkeersvoorspellingen met modellen: een voorspelling over modellen (in Dutch language) (3 page pdf, Victor L. Knoop and Serge P. Hoogendoorn, Nationaal verkeerskundecongres, 6 Nov. 2013)

Today we review research into improved modelling of emissions from congested traffic which takes into account instantaneous starts and stops instead of assuming a constant speed of vehicles. The results indicate that previous mobile transportation pollution models may underestimate emissions by as much as 60%.and this has large potential consequences for environmental impact assessments of large transportation projects, as well as for regulating or reducing emissions from currently congested cities.

traffic model

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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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Modelling Cities According to Isobenefits

Simulating future societies in Isobenefit Cities: Social isobenefit scenarios(16 page pdf, Luca D’Acci, Futures Journal, Sep. 25, 2013)

Today we review a paper about a model of various urban forms that are evaluated according to the benefits that each confers to its citizens. The forms include a traditional Central Business District form where the population and economy is highest in the centre and radiates outward to a second form where there are several sub centres or sub cities of activity to a third form where there is a ring city surrounding .The isolines of benefits (isobenefits) are based on formulae which estimate such things as benefits to pedestrians and cyclists (pedestrian and bike paths for example) and specific examples from cities around the world are tested. Results indicate the types of cities that could be designed as well as what might be done to existing cities to improve benefits. The optimum one seems to be a multi-centre city.

isobenefits

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How Does Waste Heat from MegaCities Affect the Global Atmospheric Circulation?

Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America(5 Page pdf, Guang J. Zhang, Ming Cai and Aixue Hu, Nature Climate Change, Jan 27, 2013)

Also discussed here: Cities change temperatures for thousands of miles(UCAR ATMOS News, Jan. 27, 2013)

And here: City heat affects temperatures 1,000 miles away(The Times of India, Jan. 28, 2013)

Today we review global climate modeling research that examined the contribution of the waste heat produced by buildings and vehicle emissions in very large cities. Although this heat is small compared to the warming from greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere for the entire world, the model simulations reveal large changes in the regional circulation near these cities which may intensify local weather events such as droughts or extreme storms.

earth-at-night-thm_0

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Where Does Air Pollution Gather in the Urban Environment?

The geometry of inertial particle mixing in urban flows, from deterministic and random displacement models (Abstract, Wenbo Tang, Brent Knutson, Alex Mahalov, and Reneta Dimitrova, Physics of Fluids, American Institute of Physics , Jun. 25, 2012)

Also discussed here: Wind Concentrates Pollutants With Unexpected Order in an Urban Environment(ScienceDaily, Aug. 24, 2012)

Today an interesting paper is reviewed that describes a physical-mathematical urban wind model  that showed how the shape and form of the urban structure affect where pollutants tend to accumulate or gather. This is doubly important – first, as a clue on where to locate pollution monitors and, second, where to expect higher levels of pollutants with health impacts. The implications for urban design and planning are obvious.

Town roads Mystic urban area : Towns of Stonin...To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

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