Analysis of the air pollution climate at a background site in the Po valley

A Bigi, G Ghermandi, Roy Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The Po valley in northern Italy is renowned for its high air pollutant concentrations. Measurements of air pollutants from a background site in Modena, a town of 200 thousand inhabitants within the Po valley, are analysed. These comprise hourly data for CO, NO, NO(2), NO(x), and O(3), and daily gravimetric equivalent data for PM(10) from 1998-2010. The data are analysed in terms of long-term trends, annual, weekly and diurnal cycles, and auto-correlation and cross-correlation functions. CO, NO and NO(2) exhibit a strongly traffic-related pattern, with daily peaks at morning and evening rush hour and lower concentrations over the weekend. Ozone shows an annual cycle with a peak in July due to local production; notwithstanding the diurnal cycle dominated by titration by nitrogen oxide, the decreasing long term trend in NO concentration did not affect the long term trend in O(3), whose mean concentration remained steady over the sampling period. PM(10) shows a strong seasonality with higher concentration in winter and lower concentration in summer and spring. Both PM(10) and ozone show a marked weekly cycle in summer and winter respectively. Regressions of PM(10) upon NO(x) show a consistently greater intercept in winter, representing higher secondary PM(10) in the cooler months of the year. There is a seasonal pattern in primary PM(10) to NO(x) ratios, with lower values in winter and higher values in summer, but the reasons are unclear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-563
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Monitoring
Issue number2
Early online date14 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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