Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 2

2
10009467
Influence of a High-Resolution Land Cover Classification on Air Quality Modelling
Abstract:
Poor air quality is one of the main environmental causes of premature deaths worldwide, and mainly in cities, where the majority of the population lives. It is a consequence of successive land cover (LC) and use changes, as a result of the intensification of human activities. Knowing these landscape modifications in a comprehensive spatiotemporal dimension is, therefore, essential for understanding variations in air pollutant concentrations. In this sense, the use of air quality models is very useful to simulate the physical and chemical processes that affect the dispersion and reaction of chemical species into the atmosphere. However, the modelling performance should always be evaluated since the resolution of the input datasets largely dictates the reliability of the air quality outcomes. Among these data, the updated LC is an important parameter to be considered in atmospheric models, since it takes into account the Earth’s surface changes due to natural and anthropic actions, and regulates the exchanges of fluxes (emissions, heat, moisture, etc.) between the soil and the air. This work aims to evaluate the performance of the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem), when different LC classifications are used as an input. The influence of two LC classifications was tested: i) the 24-classes USGS (United States Geological Survey) LC database included by default in the model, and the ii) CLC (Corine Land Cover) and specific high-resolution LC data for Portugal, reclassified according to the new USGS nomenclature (33-classes). Two distinct WRF-Chem simulations were carried out to assess the influence of the LC on air quality over Europe and Portugal, as a case study, for the year 2015, using the nesting technique over three simulation domains (25 km2, 5 km2 and 1 km2 horizontal resolution). Based on the 33-classes LC approach, particular emphasis was attributed to Portugal, given the detail and higher LC spatial resolution (100 m x 100 m) than the CLC data (5000 m x 5000 m). As regards to the air quality, only the LC impacts on tropospheric ozone concentrations were evaluated, because ozone pollution episodes typically occur in Portugal, in particular during the spring/summer, and there are few research works relating to this pollutant with LC changes. The WRF-Chem results were validated by season and station typology using background measurements from the Portuguese air quality monitoring network. As expected, a better model performance was achieved in rural stations: moderate correlation (0.4 – 0.7), BIAS (10 – 21µg.m-3) and RMSE (20 – 30 µg.m-3), and where higher average ozone concentrations were estimated. Comparing both simulations, small differences grounded on the Leaf Area Index and air temperature values were found, although the high-resolution LC approach shows a slight enhancement in the model evaluation. This highlights the role of the LC on the exchange of atmospheric fluxes, and stresses the need to consider a high-resolution LC characterization combined with other detailed model inputs, such as the emission inventory, to improve air quality assessment.
1
9050
Geostatistical Analysis and Mapping of Groundlevel Ozone in a Medium Sized Urban Area
Abstract:
Ground-level tropospheric ozone is one of the air pollutants of most concern. It is mainly produced by photochemical processes involving nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the lower parts of the atmosphere. Ozone levels become particularly high in regions close to high ozone precursor emissions and during summer, when stagnant meteorological conditions with high insolation and high temperatures are common. In this work, some results of a study about urban ozone distribution patterns in the city of Badajoz, which is the largest and most industrialized city in Extremadura region (southwest Spain) are shown. Fourteen sampling campaigns, at least one per month, were carried out to measure ambient air ozone concentrations, during periods that were selected according to favourable conditions to ozone production, using an automatic portable analyzer. Later, to evaluate the ozone distribution at the city, the measured ozone data were analyzed using geostatistical techniques. Thus, first, during the exploratory analysis of data, it was revealed that they were distributed normally, which is a desirable property for the subsequent stages of the geostatistical study. Secondly, during the structural analysis of data, theoretical spherical models provided the best fit for all monthly experimental variograms. The parameters of these variograms (sill, range and nugget) revealed that the maximum distance of spatial dependence is between 302-790 m and the variable, air ozone concentration, is not evenly distributed in reduced distances. Finally, predictive ozone maps were derived for all points of the experimental study area, by use of geostatistical algorithms (kriging). High prediction accuracy was obtained in all cases as cross-validation showed. Useful information for hazard assessment was also provided when probability maps, based on kriging interpolation and kriging standard deviation, were produced.
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