Spatial distribution of PM 1 and PM 10 during Saharan dust episodes in Athens, Greece
The objective of this study is to present and analyse the spatial distribution of PM 1 (particulate matter with diameter less than 1 μm) and PM 10 (particulate matter with diameter less than 10 μm) within the greater area of Athens (GAA), Greece, during two extreme Saharan dust episodes in 2006 and 2008. Two portable detectors, based on light scattering method, were used to record the particulate matter concentrations. The samples were collected in the same morning hour of the day which coincided with the peak of vehicles traffic. We analysed the recorded data on normal days and on days with extreme Saharan dust events in order to find out the exceedances of the particulate matter concentrations. Using Kriging method, the spatial patterns of PM 1 and PM 10 concentrations were constructed for GAA. It is already known that particulate matter represent the main hazard in cardiovascular and respiratory syndromes within the most polluted cities of Europe, which confront high traffic problems, amplified by Saharan dust episodes, which are frequent especially in the Southern Europe, during spring time. The results of the performed analysis showed that during these episodes, PM concentrations over exceed the thresholds set by the European Union, exacerbating the human health in Athens.