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A field study of factors influencing the concentrations of a traffic-related pollutant in the vicinity of a complex urban junction

Tomlin, A. S., Smalley , R. J., Tate, J. E., Arnold, S. J., Dobre, A., Barlow, J. F., Belcher, S. E. and Robins, A. (2009) A field study of factors influencing the concentrations of a traffic-related pollutant in the vicinity of a complex urban junction. Atmospheric Environment, 43 (32). pp. 5027-5037. ISSN 1352-2310

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.06.047


The paper describes a field study focused on the dispersion of a traffic-related pollutant within an area close to a busy intersection between two street canyons in Central London. Simultaneous measurements of airflow, traffic flow and carbon monoxide concentrations ([CO]) are used to explore the causes of spatial variability in [CO] over a full range of background wind directions. Depending on the roof-top wind direction, evidence of both flow channelling and recirculation regimes were identified from data collected within the main canyon and the intersection. However, at the intersection, the merging of channelled flows from the canyons increased the flow complexity and turbulence intensity. These features, coupled with the close proximity of nearby queuing traffic in several directions, led to the highest overall time-average measured [CO] occurring at the intersection. Within the main street canyon, the data supported the presence of a helical flow regime for oblique roof-top flows, leading to increased [CO] on the canyon leeward side. Predominant wind directions led to some locations having significantly higher diurnal average [CO] due to being mostly on the canyon leeward side during the study period. For all locations, small changes in the background wind direction could cause large changes in the in-street mean wind angle and local turbulence intensity, implying that dispersion mechanisms would be highly sensitive to small changes in above roof flows. During peak traffic flow periods, concentrations within parallel side streets were approximately four times lower than within the main canyon and intersection which has implications for controlling personal exposure. Overall, the results illustrate that pollutant concentrations can be highly spatially variable over even short distances within complex urban geometries, and that synoptic wind patterns, traffic queue location and building topologies all play a role in determining where pollutant hot spots occur.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:1967
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dispersion; Intersection; Street canyon; Traffic pollution; Turbulence; DAPPLE field campaign

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