Temporal and spatial trends in aerosols near the English Channel – An air quality success story?

Yang, M; Buxmann, JCE; Delbarre, H; Fourmentin, M; Smyth, TJ. 2020 Temporal and spatial trends in aerosols near the English Channel – An air quality success story?. Atmospheric Environment: X, 6. 100074. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeaoa.2020.100074

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aeaoa.2020.100074


We present a detailed analysis of long-term aerosol measurements from four sun photometer sites (from west to east: Plymouth, Chilbolton, Dunkirk, Oostende) and four Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs surface sites (from west to east: Plymouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastbourne) near the English Channel. From the early 2000s to about 2016, annual mean Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) from all sun photometer sites decreased by an overall average of 23% decade-1 (range of 15–28% decade-1). From 2010 to 2017, annual mean concentration of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) from all the surface sites decreased by an overall average of 44% decade-1 (range of 7–64% decade-1). Seasonally, the highest aerosol loading is generally found around the springtime, and this maximum has been decreasing much faster over recent years than during the other seasons. This is driven by the interaction between the seasonal weather patterns (e.g. reduced westerly flow and drier weather in the spring) and the main emission sources being predominantly from the European Continent. We find clear spatial gradients in the aerosol loading as well as aerosol composition. From west to east along the English Channel, PM2.5 concentration increases with a mean gradient of about 0.007 μg m-3 km-1. At the westernmost site Plymouth, sea spray is estimated on average to account for 16% of the AOD and 13% of the particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 10 μm (PM10). The importance of sea spray is reduced by at least a factor of two at the more eastern sites. The long-term decrease in aerosol loading along the English Channel appears to be more strongly driven by the reduced anthropogenic emissions, rather than by changes in the large-scale circulation such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. Clean ups in road vehicles and ship emissions, however, do not appear to be strong drivers for the long-term trends in aerosol loading at these coastal sites.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Ecology and Environment
Meteorology and Climatology
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Biochemistry and Observations
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 03 Jun 2020 10:44
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2020 10:44
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/8953

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