Long-term trends in air quality in major cities in the UK and India: a view from space.

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From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 8)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Article
Length: 428 words

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Abstract :

Air quality networks in cities can be costly and inconsistent and typically monitor a few pollutants. Space-based instruments provide global coverage spanning more than a decade to determine trends in air quality, augmenting surface networks. Here we target cities in the UK (London and Birmingham) and India (Delhi and Kanpur) and use observations of nitrogen dioxide (NO.sub.2) from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), ammonia (NH.sub.3) from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), formaldehyde (HCHO) from OMI as a proxy for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and aerosol optical depth (AOD) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) for PM.sub.2.5 . We assess the skill of these products at reproducing monthly variability in surface concentrations of air pollutants where available. We find temporal consistency between column and surface NO.sub.2 in cities in the UK and India (R = 0.5-0.7) and NH.sub.3 at two of three rural sites in the UK (R = 0.5-0.7) but not between AOD and surface PM.sub.2.5 (R 0.4). MODIS AOD is consistent with AERONET at sites in the UK and India (R ⥠0.8) and reproduces a significant decline in surface PM.sub.2.5 in London (2.7 % a.sup.-1) and Birmingham (3.7 % a.sup.-1) since 2009. We derive long-term trends in the four cities for 2005-2018 from OMI and MODIS and for 2008-2018 from IASI. Trends of all pollutants are positive in Delhi, suggesting no air quality improvements there, despite the roll-out of controls on industrial and transport sectors. Kanpur, identified by the WHO as the most polluted city in the world in 2018, experiences a significant and substantial (3.1 % a.sup.-1) increase in PM.sub.2.5 . The decline of NO.sub.2, NH.sub.3, and PM.sub.2.5 in London and Birmingham is likely due in large part to emissions controls on vehicles. Trends are significant only for NO.sub.2 and PM.sub.2.5 . Reactive NMVOCs decline in Birmingham, but the trend is not significant. There is a recent (2012-2018) steep ( 9 % a.sup.-1) increase in reactive NMVOCs in London. The cause for this rapid increase is uncertain but may reflect the increased contribution of oxygenated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from household products, the food and beverage industry, and domestic wood burning, with implications for the formation of ozone in a VOC-limited city.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A659958062