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Air Quality

Urbanization has a tremendous impact on air quality, both over the city and the surrounding countryside. Air quality attainment becomes a critical problem, and is exacerbated by urban growth. Increased surface temperatures over the city are directly related to an increase in ozone production. Measurement of thermal energy characteristics across the urban landscape, therefore, can be input into air quality models, such as the Urban Airshed Model (UAM) to predict the spatial distribution of photochemically active pollutants, including ozone.

Urban Airshed Model - More Information

Air quality models are designed to simulate the transport, reaction, emission, and deposition of air pollutants. The scale of models used in LBNL's urban heat island mitigation work is similar to that of mesoscale meteorological models.

Typical input to air quality models consists of meteorological conditions and emission inventories that provide information on the spatial distribution and rates of emissions of pollutants from power plants, point sources, area sources, mobile sources, and vegetation. Other inputs relate to surface characteristics such as vegetative refraction and roughness.

Typical output from air quality models includes the four-dimensional distribution of pollutant concentrations such as those of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and dioxide, and others. In past modeling efforts, LBNL has found that the meteorological and air quality models, although not entirely free of errors, predict reasonably well the observed states. However, the data suggest that further model improvements and input modification may be needed to enhance the prediction capability of these models.

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Last Updated: August 5, 1999