Characterizing air pollution patterns on multiple time scales in urban areas: a landscape ecological approach

Ronald Pope, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quantifying the spatiotemporal patterns of air pollution in urban areas is essential for studying ecological processes, environmental quality, and human health in cities. To adequately characterize or monitor air pollution patterns, one important issue is scale because the concentrations of air pollutants are temporally dynamic and spatially heterogeneous. Our research addresses the scale issue in air quality monitoring and analysis by considering the following research questions: (1) How does the spatial pattern of ozone change with the temporal scale of analysis? (2) How does the spatial pattern of PM10 change with the temporal scale of analysis? (3) What implications do these scale effects have for designing and evaluating air pollution monitoring networks? We systematically examined these questions based on data from official air pollution monitoring networks in the Phoenix metropolitan region, Arizona, USA. Our results showed that spatial patterns of both ozone and PM10 may change substantially with the temporal scale of analysis. Ozone patterns at broader (but not finer) temporal scales were more consistent across years, and exhibited a more uniform, regionalized pattern. PM10 patterns were less consistent across years than ozone, and exhibited a more localized effect. Spatial patterns of PM10 also varied seasonally. Our study demonstrates that it is critically important to consider the temporal and spatial scales in designing or evaluating air monitoring networks in particular and in conducting air pollution research in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-874
Number of pages20
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Monitoring network
  • Ozone
  • PM
  • Phoenix metropolitan region
  • Scale effects
  • Spatial pattern of air pollutants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies

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