The impact of weather on air quality 

 

 

La qualité de l’air dépend non seulement de l’émission de polluants provenant de différentes sources telles que l’industrie, les transports, les sources tertiaires et domestiques mais aussi des conditions météorologiques qui contrôlent la dispersion des polluants ou au contraire leur accumulation.

Air quality depends not only on the emission of pollutants from different sources such as industry, transportation, tertiary and domestic sources but also on the meteorological conditions that control the dispersion of pollutants or on the contrary their accumulation.

 

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Summary

Impact of wind on air pollution

Impact of temperature on air pollution

Impact of atmospheric pressure on air pollution

Impact of humidity on air pollution 

Impact of precipation on air pollution

Impact of thermal inversion on air pollution

Meersens’ role in air quality monitoring

Weather and air quality:

The weather plays a major role in the formation and spread of air pollution and conversely, air pollutants can affect the weather (e.g. by promoting cloud formation). Wind, temperature, sunshine, humidity and rain all have an impact on air quality.

Impact of wind on air pollution

Its impact can be positive or negative.

Wind is favorable to the dispersion of pollutants. It intervenes by its direction to direct the plumes of smoke or by its speed to move the pollutants.

In a simplified way, the wind, depending on its direction and intensity, can disperse the pollutants or concentrate them on a reduced geographical area.

The wind can carry particles over very long distances (sand clouds, pollens…).

Impact of temperature on air pollution

Temperatures whether too high or too low are unfavorable to air quality.

Temperature affects the chemistry of pollutants as well as their emissions.

  • ❄️ Cold temperatures reduce the volatility of certain gases but increase automobile emissions due to less efficient combustion.
  • ❄️ Indirectly, cold weather can generate peaks of fine particles; in cold weather, operating chimneys will be a source of fine particles.
  • ☀️ Heat as well as sunshine favour the photochemical formation of ozone.

Impact of atmospheric pressure on air pollution

Its impact can be positive in low-pressure situations, which generally correspond to fairly strong air turbulence and therefore good dispersion conditions.

On the other hand, its impact can be negative in anticyclonic situations (high pressure) where the stability of the air does not allow the dispersion of the pollutants and thus lead to pollution episodes.

Impact of humidity on air pollution 

Humidity influences the transformation of primary pollutants emitted.

It plays a key role in the formation and elimination of “acid fog”, which includes :

  • sulfuric acid (H2SO4) (formed from sulfur dioxide – SO2)
  • nitric acid (HNO3) (in connection with nitrogen oxides – NOx).

Humidity therefore has a positive impact on pollution.

Impact of precipitations on air pollution

Rain also has a positive influence on air quality. It allows a good dispersion of atmospheric pollution.

Heavy precipitation carries the heaviest pollutants to the ground and can sometimes accelerate the dissolution of certain pollutants.

Overall, pollutant concentrations in the atmosphere decrease significantly during rainy weather, particularly for dust and soluble elements such as suspended particles, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Impact of thermal inversion on air pollution 

In a normal situation (without thermal inversion) the air temperature normally decreases with altitude. Warm air tends to rise in altitude, containing the pollutants.  This phenomenon allows a good vertical dispersion.

In a thermal inversion situation, the temperature at an altitude of a few hundred meters is higher than that of the ground, which means that the pollutants are trapped under a cover of warm air and accumulate.

Weather and air quality

Meersens’ role in weather and air quality monitoring

Climate and meteorology (wind, temperature, precipitation, and other meteorological factors) play a key role in the air quality issues that people face. Meersens helps professionals or cities better understand and reduce the health risks of poor air quality by:

– By making pollutants visible as well as monitoring and modeling them in real time, predicting or reconstructing exposure, using machine learning and data completion methods.

– Measuring and visualizing the impact of the environment on health with a health risk index based on global norms and standards.

– Implementing preventive actions allowing stakeholders to make better decisions to protect human health by proposing simulation and detection scenarios of pollution sources through environmental assessment and modeling.

We notice that weather and air quality are closely linked.

Indeed, if the weather is good with sunny weather and low wind, pollutants will tend to accumulate. On the contrary, if it is windy, with clouds and rain, it will wash away the pollutants and thus improve the air quality.

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Meersens is a positive impact environmental health company, mobilized to create a sustainable future, enabling environmental risk mitigation and positively contributing to the health and well-being of stakeholders – by providing customized environmental monitoring and prevention.

Meersens provides 360°, real-time, historical and predictive multi-pollutant monitoring and insight for any location with high accuracy, enabling you to mitigate risks and make better decisions.

Whether you are a company wishing to act for its employees, a city for its citizens, Meersens can help you!

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