Publication on Atmospheric chemistry and physics

Source-Resolved Variability of Fine Particulate Matter and Human Exposure in an Urban Area

Authors: Pablo Garcia Rivera, Brian T. Dinkelacker, Ioannis Kioutsioukis, Peter J. Adams and Spyros N. Pandis.

Increasing the resolution of chemical transport model (CTM) predictions in urban areas is important to capture sharp spatial gradients in atmospheric pollutant concentrations and better inform air quality and emissions controls policies that protect public health. The chemical transport model PMCAMx was used to assess the impact of increasing model resolution on the ability to predict the source-resolved variability and population exposure to PM2.5 at 36 x 36, 12 x 12, 4 x 4, and 1 x 1 km resolutions over the city of Pittsburgh during typical winter and summer periods (February and July 2017). At the coarse resolution, county-level differences can be observed, while increasing the resolution to 12 x 12 km resolves the urban-rural gradient. Increasing resolution to 4 x 4 km resolves large stationary sources such as power plants and the 1 x 1 km resolution reveals intra-urban variations and individual roadways within the simulation domain. Regional pollutants that exhibit low spatial variability such as PM2.5 nitrate show modest changes when increasing the resolution beyond 12 x 12 km. Predominantly local pollutants such as elemental carbon and organic aerosol have gradients that can only be resolved at the 1 x 1 km scale. Contributions from some local sources are enhanced by weighting the average contribution from each source by the population in each grid cell. The average population weighted PM2.5 concentration does not change significantly with resolution, suggesting that extremely high resolution PM2.5 predictions may not be necessary for effective urban epidemiological analysis


acp-2021-568.pdf (