University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Urban NO2 and NO Pollution in Relation to the North Atlantic Oscillation NAO

Grundström, Maria, Linderholm, H., Klingberg, J. and Pleijel, H. (2011) Urban NO2 and NO Pollution in Relation to the North Atlantic Oscillation NAO. Atmospheric Environment, 45 (4). pp. 883-888. ISSN 1352-2310

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The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a measure of the strength of the zonal wind across the North Atlantic Ocean, strongly influences weather conditions in NW Europe, e.g. temperature, precipitation and wind, especially during winter. It was hypothesised that elevated concentrations of nitrogen oxides in Gothenburg would be enhanced during negative NAO index (NAOI) conditions, representing more anticyclonic weather situations and thus leading to limited air mixing in the urban atmosphere, than situations with NAOI > 0. Hourly wintertime (December–February) concentrations (1997–2006) of NO2, NO, air pressure, temperature and wind direction from an urban rooftop (30 m above street level) in the centre of the City of Gothenburg were analysed in relation to NAOI. Air pressure, the average concentration of nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO2 + NO), as well as the fraction of hourly NO2 and NO concentrations exceeding 90 μg m−3 and the fraction of daily NO concentrations exceeding 60 μg m−3, were significantly and negatively related to NAOI. Air temperature was positively correlated with NAOI. Southerly and westerly winds were more common in months with positive NAOI, while easterly and northerly winds were overrepresented in months with negative NAOI. High pollution concentrations dominantly occurred in situations with northerly and easterly wind directions. High NO2 and NO concentrations were associated with negative NAOI, especially in the morning when the traffic rush coincided with restricted air mixing. Over the ten-year period there were trends for more negative NAOI and increased time fractions with hourly NO2 concentrations exceeding 90 μg m−3. The conclusion of this study is that a climate shift towards higher or lower NAOI has the potential to significantly influence urban air pollution in North-West Europe, and thus the possibility to reach air quality standards, even if emissions remain constant.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: North Atlantic Oscillation, NO2, NOx, urban pollution, climate, Gothenburg, meteorology, atmospheric sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Maria Grundstrom
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018 14:54
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:25

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