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.


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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.


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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

Pollution “Radar” and the London Olympics

Sensors to create 3D map of Olympic pollution levels  (Mark Prigg, London Evening Standards, Apr. 30, 2012)

Also discussed here: UK develops technology to study traffic impact during London Olympics (Road Traffic Technology, May 1, 2012)

And  here: CityScan – The Pollution Radar

And here: 3-D Map of Air Pollution in London (London Air, King’s College London)

The site of each Olympics, it seems, is in or near a large city with high pollution levels.This year is no different with London following Beijing. By no coincidence, national authorities take steps to monitor and  improve the air quality not only for the competing athletes but also for the millions of visitors to the event. Today we review progress on the development of a compact optical device, a “pollution radar”, which can produce time sequenced 3D maps of  NO2 for the entire city with a resolution of 50m and 5 minutes from three monitoring sites.

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Hamilton’s Air Pollution Hot Spots

Mobile Air Quality Monitoring to Determine Local Impacts  (39 page pdf, Denis Corr, Rotek Environmental Inc. July 2011)

Also discussed here: Unique study maps neighbourhood air pollution  (Hamilton Spectator, Jan. 20, 2012)

And here: A Public Health Assessment of Mortality and Hospital Admissions Attributable to Air Pollution in Hamilton  (3 page pdf, School of Geography and Geology and McMaster Institute of Environment and Health, 2011)

From the city of Hamilton, a leader among Canadian cities in the assessment of urban health, comes a report on a local neighbourhood air quality monitoring study. Results indicate almost 12% increased mortality risk as an average across the city for all pollutants, with the highest increased risk (+18%) near the 6 lane highway (403) that bisects the city. The breakdown of risk by pollutant may also be used to identify and reduce pollution sources.

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The State of Air Pollution in Europe

The European Environment – State and Outlook 2010 – Air Pollution (46 page pdf, European Environment Agency, 2010)

The report reviewed today is an overview of the progress (or lack of progress) being made or forecast in Europe to meet EU objectives. Clearly, the main challenge has to do with particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide and managing the main sources: hydro plants and transportation. One striking observation is that as electric vehicles are introduced to reduce urban emissions, rural areas may suffer as the sites of expanded electric generating utilities.

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