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Archive for January, 2017

US EPA has updated the Guideline on Air Quality Models

On December 20, 2016, the US EPA revised the Guideline on Air Quality Models. The Guideline provides EPA-recommended models and other techniques, as well as guidance for their use, for predicting ambient concentrations of air pollutants.

Key things to note:

  • CALINE3 is being replaced by AERMOD as the preferred model for refined mobile source applications including fine particle pollution (PM2.5, PM10), and carbon monoxide (CO) hot-spot analyses.
  • The EPA is finalising modelling techniques to address the secondary chemical formation of fine particle and ozone pollution from direct, single source emissions of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen for fine particle formation, and volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen for ozone formation. These compounds can react in the atmosphere to form fine particle and ozone pollution.
  • In conjunction with the final Guideline, the EPA is issuing guidance on single-source modeling, “Guidance on the Use of Models for Assessing the Impacts of Emissions from Single Sources on the Secondarily Formed Pollutants Ozone and PM2.5.”
  • Modifications to AERMOD formulation to address issues with overprediction for applications involving relatively tall stacks located near relatively small urban areas (no user input is required).
  • For long-range (> 50km from an emissions source) air quality assessments, the EPA is removing CALPUFF as a preferred model.

EPA originally published the Guideline on Air Quality Models in 1978 and revised it several times since then. The latest revision occurred in November 2005.

Further information available here.

[Source: All4, 20 January 2017]

Update of WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines

Air pollution is the largest single environmental risk for health, recognised by the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution of May 2015 as being of major public health concern.

The latest edition of WHO air quality guidelines for ambient air pollutants was published in 2006, and included recommendations for particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Since then, the evidence base for adverse health effects related to short- and long-term exposure to these pollutants has become much larger and broader. The WHA Resolution recognised the role of WHO guidelines for both ambient air quality and indoor air quality in providing guidance and recommendations for clean air that protect human health. In particular, it requested the Director-General to strengthen WHO capacities in the field of air pollution and health through the development and regular update of WHO guidelines in order to facilitate decision making, and to provide support and guidance to Member States in their efficient implementation.

As a result in 2016 WHO has started the work towards the update of the Global Air Quality Guidelines. The project is benefitting from funds and/or in-kind support from the European Commission (DG-Environment), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is expected to provide up-to-date recommendations to continue protecting populations worldwide from the adverse health effects of ambient air pollution.

[Source: WHO, 2016]

Visualising air pollution

Real World Visuals have been working on ways to visualise air quality.

This blog looks at different ways to visualise emissions to air from cruise ships.

According to the consultants’ report, a typical cruise ship docked at Enderby Wharf would emit 1.4 million m3 of exhaust each day (15.7 m3 per second). 

The exhaust from the cruise ship also contains oxides of nitrogen and sulphur, and particles. The cubes show the actual volume of the gases (at a pressure of 1 atmosphere and temperature of 15 °C) emitted over 24 hours. These toxic gases and particles need a lot of air to dilute them until they are at levels safe enough to breathe.

They were inspired by a Costing the Earth programme on BBC Radio 4, which highlighted the problems of air pollution from cruise ships docked in Southampton and Greenwich, London. As a thirteen year old astmha sufferer in Greenwich says (Costing the Earth, BBC Radio 4):

“Air pollution effects everybody.  If you could physically see it then a lot of people would take action on it.”

We thought the blog was pretty cool. What do you think?

[Source: Lauren Simpson, Auckland Council]