Variability in exposure to ambient ultrafine particles in urban schools: Comparative assessment between Australia and Spain

Mazaheri, Mandana, Reche, Cristina, Rivas, Ioar, Crilley, Leigh R., Álvarez-Pedrerol, Mar, Viana, Mar, Tobias, Aurelio, Alastuey, Andrés, Sunyer, Jordi, Querol, Xavier, & Morawska, Lidia (2016) Variability in exposure to ambient ultrafine particles in urban schools: Comparative assessment between Australia and Spain. Environment International, 88, pp. 142-149.

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Abstract

Ambient ultrafine particle number concentrations (PNC) have inhomogeneous spatio-temporal distributions and depend on a number of different urban factors, including background conditions and distant sources. This paper quantitatively compares exposure to ambient ultrafine particles at urban schools in two cities in developed countries, with high insolation climatic conditions, namely Brisbane (Australia) and Barcelona (Spain). The analysis used comprehensive indoor and outdoor air quality measurements at 25 schools in Brisbane and 39 schools in Barcelona. PNC modes were analysed with respect to ambient temperature, land use and urban characteristics, combined with the measured elemental carbon concentrations, NOx (Brisbane) and NO2 (Barcelona). The trends and modes of the quantified weekday average daily cycles of ambient PNC exhibited significant differences between the two cities. PNC increases were observed during traffic rush hours in both cases. However, the mid-day peak was dominant in Brisbane schools and had the highest contribution to total PNC for both indoors and outdoors. In Barcelona, the contribution from traffic was highest for ambient PNC, while the mid-day peak had a slightly higher contribution for indoor concentrations. Analysis of the relationships between PNC and land use characteristics in Barcelona schools showed a moderate correlation with the percentage of road network area and an anti-correlation with the percentage of green area. No statistically significant correlations were found for Brisbane. Overall, despite many similarities between the two cities, school-based exposure patterns were different. The main source of ambient PNC at schools was shown to be traffic in Barcelona and mid-day new particle formation in Brisbane. The mid-day PNC peak in Brisbane could have been driven by the combined effect of background and meteorological conditions, as well as other local/distant sources. The results have implications for urban development, especially in terms of air quality mitigation and management at schools.

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ID Code: 92407
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Ambient particles, Exposure, New particle formation, Urban environments, High insolation areas
DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.12.029
ISSN: 0160-4120
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Impact Assessment (050204)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified (050299)
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 2016 Elsevier
Deposited On: 28 Jan 2016 01:38
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2016 03:32

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