Climatological factors impacting summer pollution concentrations in the Philadelphia metropolitan area

Authors: Jessica August*, Rutgers University, David A. Robinson, Rutgers University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: synoptic climatology, air quality, tropospheric ozone, PM 2.5
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Chemical reactions associated with the combustion of fossil fuels create particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or smaller (PM 2.5), along with tropospheric ozone. Ongoing population growth and increasing temperatures and potential changes in synoptic patterns associated with climate change warrant investigation of relationships between the aforementioned pollutants and synoptic regimes. We examine such in the Philadelphia, PA-Camden, NJ-Wilmington, DE (PCW) metropolitan area, focusing on the summer season. Data were analyzed from 1990-2017 to assess relationships between synoptic air mass type and the corresponding concentrations of ozone and PM 2.5 This included use of the Temporal Synoptic Index (TSI) product that was created using meteorological data from the NWS Philadelphia International Airport station. Ozone and PM 2.5 concentrations were collected from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Outdoor Air Quality Data for five monitoring sites situated within the PCW region. It was determined that three synoptic types explain most of the high pollutant concentration amounts. These include a weak flow pattern, a Southwesterly flow pattern, and a low pressure system centered over Quebec with a related cold front over the study area. Additional findings including the relationship between the two pollutants, temporal variability for the study interval and spatial relationships across the study region are presented.

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