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    ABSTRACT: This paper develops the idea of bivariate polar plots as a method for source detection and characterisation. Bivariate polar plots provide a graphical method for showing the joint wind speed, wind direction dependence of air pollutant concentrations. Bivariate polar plots provide an effective graphical means of discriminating different source types and characteristics. In the current work we apply k-means clustering techniques directly to bivariate polar plots to identify and group similar features. The technique is analogous to clustering applied to back trajectories at the regional scale. When applied to data from a monitoring site with high source complexity it is shown that the technique is able to identify important clusters in ambient monitoring data that additional analysis shows to exhibit different source characteristics. Importantly, this paper links identified clusters to known emission characteristics to confirm the inferences made in the analysis. The approaches developed should have wide application to the analysis of air pollution monitoring data and have been made freely available as part of the openair R package.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Environmental Modelling and Software
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    ABSTRACT: The eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010 resulted in an unprecedented flight-ban at many European airports for many days. While much of the scientific interest in the eruption was related to the chemical and physical properties of the ash cloud and how it dispersed, a secondary effect was the reduction in aviation emissions at airports around Europe and elsewhere. In this study we aim to quantify the impact the flight-ban had on concentrations of nitrogen oxides at measurement sites close to London Heathrow Airport. A technique based on boosted regression trees is used to build an explanatory model of NOx and NO2 concentrations based on hourly meteorological and aircraft emissions data in the 3-years preceding the flight-ban. We show that the airport closure resulted in an unambiguous effect on NOx and NO2 concentrations close to the airport, even though the ban only lasted six days. Furthermore, we estimate the annual impact airport emissions have on mean concentrations of NOx and NO2 for different years and compare these estimates with a detailed dispersion modelling study and previous work that was based on the analysis of monitoring site data. For the receptor most affected by the flight-ban approximately 200 m south of the airport we estimate the airport contributes about 13.5 μg m−3 NOx (≈23% of the total measured NOx concentration), which is similar in magnitude to detailed dispersion modelling estimates of 12.0 μg m−3, but approximately twice that of other estimates based on the analysis of ambient measurements. Other measurement sites showed more mixed results due to the prevailing meteorology at the time of the ban, which affected the extent to which these sites were affected by the flight-ban. The techniques developed and applied in this paper would have application to other short-term interventions that affect air quality.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Atmospheric Environment
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we have compared detailed road traffic NOx emissions with the equivalent trends in ambient roadside NOx measurements. This was undertaken separately in Great Britain and London, for all of the major roads, and by road type and location. The emissions trends were created using different emissions factors, those used in UK emissions inventories (Base case), the Swiss-German handbook (HBEFA), and those created from recent remote sensing measurements in the UK (RSD). An alternative assumption for use of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) in the articulated Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) fleet was also tested. For all scenarios traffic flows, speeds and vehicle age were kept constant. Comparison between the emissions scenarios in Great Britain showed that by 2009, NOx emissions estimates from road traffic could be as much as 25% greater than current UK estimates and 31% greater in London. The RSD emissions inventory gave the smallest downward trend in NOx emissions, from 2004 to 2009, of between 3 and 4%/year and this compared with a reduction of ∼6%/year from the Base Case and HBEFA scenarios. All scenarios compared poorly with roadside NOx measurement trends from UK sites, which typically reduce by between 1% and 2%/year. We have shown that the differences in NOx emissions trends were driven, partially at least, by the relative contribution from light duty diesel vehicles. An analysis from 2700 NOx measurement sites throughout Europe has shown that this problem is unlikely to be limited to the UK, and identifies a difficulty in meeting EU limit values for NO2, obligations under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD, 2001) and the Gothenburg Protocol (UNECE, 1999) and for forecasting future changes in PM2.5.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Atmospheric Environment
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