A very high-resolution assessment and modelling of urban air quality

Wolf, Tobias; Pettersson, Lasse H.; Esau, Igor

Urban air quality is one of the most prominent environmental concerns for modern city residents and authorities. Accurate monitoring of air quality is difficult due to intrinsic urban landscape heterogeneity and superposition of multiple polluting sources. Existing approaches often do not provide the necessary spatial details and peak concentrations of pollutants, especially at larger distances from monitoring stations. A more advanced integrated approach is needed. This study presents a very high-resolution air quality assessment with the Parallelized Large-Eddy Simulation Model (PALM), capitalising on local measurements. This fully three-dimensional primitive-equation hydrodynamical model resolves both structural details of the complex urban surface and turbulent eddies larger than 10 m in size. We ran a set of 27 meteorological weather scenarios in order to assess the dispersion of pollutants in Bergen, a middle-sized Norwegian city embedded in a coastal valley. This set of scenarios represents typically observed weather conditions with high air pollution from nitrogen dioxide (inline-formulaNO2) and particulate matter (inline-formulaPM2.5). The modelling methodology helped to identify pathways and patterns of air pollution caused by the three main local air pollution sources in the city. These are road vehicle traffic, domestic house heating with wood-burning fireplaces and ships docked in the harbour area next to the city centre. The study produced vulnerability maps, highlighting the most impacted districts for each weather and emission scenario. Overall, the largest contribution to air pollution over inhabited areas in Bergen was caused by road traffic emissions for inline-formulaNO2 and wood-burning fireplaces for inline-formulaPM2.5 pollution. The effect of emission from ships in the port was mostly restricted to the areas close to the harbour and moderate in comparison. However, the results have contributed to implementation of measures to reduce emissions from ships in Bergen harbour, including provision of shore power.

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Wolf, Tobias / Pettersson, Lasse H. / Esau, Igor: A very high-resolution assessment and modelling of urban air quality. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Tobias Wolf et al.

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