Multisite study of particle number concentrations in urban air

Roy Harrison, Alan Jones

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    62 Citations (Scopus)


    Particle number concentration data are reported from a total of eight urban site locations in the United Kingdom. Of these, six are central urban background sites, while one is an urban street canyon (Marylebone Road) and another is influenced by both a motorway and a steelworks (Port Talbot). The concentrations are generally of a similar order to those reported in the literature, although higher than those in some of the other studies. Highest concentrations are at the Marylebone Road site and lowest are at the Port Talbot site. The central urban background locations lie somewhere between with concentrations typically around 20 000 cm(-3). A seasonal pattern affects all sites, with highest concentrations in the winter months and lowest concentrations in the summer. Data from all sites show a diurnal variation with a morning rush hour peak typical of an anthropogenic pollutant. When the dilution effects of windspeed are accounted for, the data show little directionality at the central urban background sites indicating the influence of sources from all directions as might be expected if the major source were road traffic. At the London Marylebone Road site there is high directionality driven by the air circulation in the street canyon, and at the Port Talbot site different diurnal patterns are seen for particle number count and PM10 influenced by emissions from road traffic (particle number count) and the steelworks (PM10) and local meteorological factors. Hourly particle number concentrations are generally only weakly correlated to NOx and PM10, with the former showing a slightly closer relationship. Correlations between daily average particle number count and PM10 were also weak. Episodes of high PM10 concentration in summer typically show low particle number concentrations consistent with transport of accumulation mode secondary aerosol, while winter episodes are frequently associated with high PM10 and particle number count arising from poor dispersion of local primary emissions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6063-6070
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


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