Vertical and horizontal fall-off of black carbon and NO2 within urban blocks.


Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Spanish Research Council (CSIC), Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


While exposure to traffic pollutants significantly decreases with distance from the curb, very dense urban architectures hamper such dispersion. Moreover, the building height reduces significantly the dispersion of pollutants. We have investigated the horizontal variability of Black Carbon (BC) and the vertical variability of NO2 and BC within the urban blocks. Increasing the distance from road BC concentrations decreased following an exponential curve reaching halving distances at 25 m (median), although with a wide variability among sites. Street canyons showed sharper fall-offs than open roads or roads next to a park. Urban background concentrations were achieved at 67 m distance on average, with higher distances found for more trafficked roads. Vertical fall-off of BC was less pronounced than the horizontal one since pollutants homogenize quickly vertically after rush traffic hours. Even shallower vertical fall-offs were found for NO2. For both pollutants, background concentrations were never reached within the building height. A street canyon effect was also found exacerbating concentrations at the lowest floors of the leeward side of the road. These inputs can be useful for assessing population exposure, air quality policies, urban planning and for models validation.


Building,Decay,Diesel,Dispersion,Road,Vehicle emissions,

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