Articles | Volume 11, issue 4
Research article
28 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 28 Feb 2011

Influence of meteorology on PM10 trends and variability in Switzerland from 1991 to 2008

I. Barmpadimos, C. Hueglin, J. Keller, S. Henne, and A. S. H. Prévôt

Abstract. Measurements of airborne particles with aerodynamic diameter of 10 μm or less (PM10) and meteorological observations are available from 13 stations distributed throughout Switzerland and representing different site types. The effect of all available meteorological variables on PM10 concentrations was estimated using Generalized Additive Models. Data from each season were treated separately. The most important variables affecting PM10 concentrations in winter, autumn and spring were wind gust, the precipitation rate of the previous day, the precipitation rate of the current day and the boundary layer depth. In summer, the most important variables were wind gust, Julian day and afternoon temperature. In addition, temperature was important in winter. A "weekend effect" was identified due to the selection of variable "day of the week" for some stations. Thursday contributes to an increase of 13% whereas Sunday contributes to a reduction of 12% of PM10 concentrations compared to Monday on average over 9 stations for the yearly data. The estimated effects of meteorological variables were removed from the measured PM10 values to obtain the PM10 variability and trends due to other factors and processes, mainly PM10 emissions and formation of secondary PM10 due to trace gas emissions. After applying this process, the PM10 variability was much lower, especially in winter where the ratio of adjusted over measured mean squared error was 0.27 on average over all considered sites. Moreover, PM10 trends in winter were more negative after the adjustment for meteorology and they ranged between −1.25 μg m−3 yr−1 and 0.07 μg m−3 yr−1. The adjusted trends for the other seasons ranged between −1.34 μg m−3 yr−1 and −0.26 μg m−3 yr−1 in spring, −1.40 μg m−3 yr−1 and −0.28 μg m−3 yr−1 in summer and −1.28 μg m−3 yr−1 and −0.11 μg m−3 yr−1 in autumn. The estimated trends of meteorologically adjusted PM10 were in general non-linear. The two urban street sites considered in the study, Bern and Lausanne, experienced the largest reduction in measured and adjusted PM10 concentrations. This indicates a verifiable effect of traffic emission reduction strategies implemented during the past two decades. The average adjusted yearly trends for rural, urban background and urban street stations were −0.37, −0.53 and −1.2 μg m−3 yr−1 respectively. The adjusted yearly trends for all stations range from −0.15 μg m−3 yr−1 to −1.2 μg m−3 yr−1 or −1.2% yr−1 to −3.3% yr−1.

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