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Strathprints serves world leading Open Access research by the University of Strathclyde, including research by the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (SIPBS), where research centres such as the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit, SeaBioTech and the Centre for Biophotonics are based.

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The influence of weather-type and long-range transport on airborne particle concentrations in Edinburgh, UK

Buchanan, C.M. and Beverland, I.J. and Heal, M.R. (2002) The influence of weather-type and long-range transport on airborne particle concentrations in Edinburgh, UK. Atmospheric Environment, 36 (34). pp. 5343-5354. ISSN 1352-2310

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Abstract

This study investigated the influence of regional-scale synoptic weather type and geographical source regions of air masses on two-particle concentration metrics (Black Smoke (BS) and PM10) in the city of Edinburgh, UK, between 1981 and 1996. Twenty-seven classifications of Jenkinson Daily Weather Types (JWT) were sub-divided into 9 directional categories and 3 vorticity categories, and the influence of JWT category on BS and PM10 determined. Four-day air mass back-trajectories for 1 July 1995-30 June 1996 were computed and grouped into 8 categories depending on the geographical route followed. Significantly elevated concentrations of BS (median values 2, 5 and 4 μg m−3 greater than median for 1981-1996) and PM10 (median values 3, 5.5 and 8 μg m−3 greater than median for 1992-1996) were observed for anticyclonic, southerly and south-easterly weather types, respectively. These differences were not identified at conventional levels of significance for BS in 1995-1996. This may reflect a shift in more recent times to lower concentrations of predominantly locally emitted BS less affected by regional scale meteorology. Conversely, significant inter-trajectory category differences were observed for PM10 during 1995-1996, with highest concentrations associated with Eastern European trajectories and south-easterly weather type categories (11.4 and 10.7 μg m−3 greater than annual means, respectively). The variation in particle concentration across weather-type was a significant proportion of total median particle concentration, and of a magnitude associated with adverse health outcomes. Thus current PM10 concentrations (and associated health outcomes) in Edinburgh are likely to be significantly influenced by regional-scale meteorology independent of local air quality management areas. Furthermore, changes in long-term trends in distributions of synoptic weather types indicate that future climate change may influence exposure to PM10 and the PM10:BS ratio in Edinburgh. Further definition of the relationships between long-range transport and particle concentration will improve classification of human exposure in epidemiological studies.