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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 11 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 8041-8064, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Jun 2018

Research article | 07 Jun 2018

Modelling of the urban concentrations of PM2.5 on a high resolution for a period of 35 years, for the assessment of lifetime exposure and health effects

Jaakko Kukkonen1, Leena Kangas1, Mari Kauhaniemi1, Mikhail Sofiev1, Mia Aarnio1, Jouni J. K. Jaakkola2, Anu Kousa3, and Ari Karppinen1 Jaakko Kukkonen et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, Erik Palmenin aukio 1, P.O. Box 503, 00101, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, and Medical Research Center, P.O. Box 5000, 90014, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  • 3Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority, P.O. Box 100, 00066 HSY, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. Reliable and self-consistent data on air quality are needed for an extensive period of time for conducting long-term, or even lifetime health impact assessments. We have modelled the urban-scale concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area for a period of 35 years, from 1980 to 2014. The regional background concentrations were evaluated based on reanalyses of the atmospheric composition on global and European scales, using the SILAM model. The high-resolution urban computations included both the emissions originated from vehicular traffic (separately exhaust and suspension emissions) and those from small-scale combustion, and were conducted using the road network dispersion model CAR-FMI and the multiple-source Gaussian dispersion model UDM-FMI. The modelled concentrations of PM2.5 agreed fairly well with the measured data at a regional background station and at four urban measurement stations, during 1999–2014. The modelled concentration trends were also evaluated for earlier years, until 1988, using proxy analyses. There was no systematic deterioration of the agreement of predictions and data for earlier years (the 1980s and 1990s), compared with the results for more recent years (2000s and early 2010s). The local vehicular emissions were about 5 times higher in the 1980s, compared with the emissions during the latest considered years. The local small-scale combustion emissions increased slightly over time. The highest urban concentrations of PM2.5 occurred in the 1980s; these have since decreased to about to a half of the highest values. In general, regional background was the largest contribution in this area. Vehicular exhaust has been the most important local source, but the relative shares of both small-scale combustion and vehicular non-exhaust emissions have increased in time. The study has provided long-term, high-resolution concentration databases on regional and urban scales that can be used for the assessment of health effects associated with air pollution.

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We have quantified the emissions and concentrations of fine particulate matter in the Helsinki area for an unprecedentedly extensive period, from 1980 to 2014. The modelled concentrations agree well with the measured data. The concentrations of fine particles have decreased drastically since the 1980s, to about a half of the highest values. The results make it possible to evaluate the long-term health impacts of air pollution substantially better.
We have quantified the emissions and concentrations of fine particulate matter in the Helsinki...