Spatial variation of particle number concentration in school microscale environments and its impact on exposure assessment

Salimi, Farhad, Mazaheri, Mandana, Clifford, Sam, Crilley, Leigh R., Laiman, Rusdin, & Morawska, Lidia (2013) Spatial variation of particle number concentration in school microscale environments and its impact on exposure assessment. Environmental Science & Technology, 47(10), pp. 5251-5258.

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It has not yet been established whether the spatial variation of particle number concentration (PNC) within a microscale environment can have an effect on exposure estimation results. In general, the degree of spatial variation within microscale environments remains unclear, since previous studies have only focused on spatial variation within macroscale environments. The aims of this study were to determine the spatial variation of PNC within microscale school environments, in order to assess the importance of the number of monitoring sites on exposure estimation. Furthermore, this paper aims to identify which parameters have the largest influence on spatial variation, as well as the relationship between those parameters and spatial variation. Air quality measurements were conducted for two consecutive weeks at each of the 25 schools across Brisbane, Australia. PNC was measured at three sites within the grounds of each school, along with the measurement of meteorological and several other air quality parameters. Traffic density was recorded for the busiest road adjacent to the school. Spatial variation at each school was quantified using coefficient of variation (CV). The portion of CV associated with instrument uncertainty was found to be 0.3 and therefore, CV was corrected so that only non-instrument uncertainty was analysed in the data. The median corrected CV (CVc) ranged from 0 to 0.35 across the schools, with 12 schools found to exhibit spatial variation. The study determined the number of required monitoring sites at schools with spatial variability and tested the deviation in exposure estimation arising from using only a single site. Nine schools required two measurement sites and three schools required three sites. Overall, the deviation in exposure estimation from using only one monitoring site was as much as one order of magnitude. The study also tested the association of spatial variation with wind speed/direction and traffic density, using partial correlation coefficients to identify sources of variation and non-parametric function estimation to quantify the level of variability. Traffic density and road to school wind direction were found to have a positive effect on CVc, and therefore, also on spatial variation. Wind speed was found to have a decreasing effect on spatial variation when it exceeded a threshold of 1.5 (m/s), while it had no effect below this threshold. Traffic density had a positive effect on spatial variation and its effect increased until it reached a density of 70 vehicles per five minutes, at which point its effect plateaued and did not increase further as a result of increasing traffic density.

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ID Code: 59452
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Spatial variation, exposure, microscale environment, particle number concentration, schools
DOI: 10.1021/es400041r
ISSN: 0013-936X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society
Deposited On: 29 Apr 2013 00:02
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2013 05:08

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