Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Dust Transport from Inland Australia and its Impact on Air Quality and Health on the Eastern Coast of Australia during the February 2019 Dust Storm.

Version 1 : Received: 24 November 2020 / Approved: 25 November 2020 / Online: 25 November 2020 (13:46:05 CET)

How to cite: Aragnou, E.; Watt, S.; Nguyen Duc, H.; Cheeseman, C.; Riley, M.; Leys, J.; White, S.; Salter, D.; Azzi, M.; Tzu-Chi Chang, L.; Morgan, G.; Hannigan, I. Dust Transport from Inland Australia and its Impact on Air Quality and Health on the Eastern Coast of Australia during the February 2019 Dust Storm.. Preprints 2020, 2020110642 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202011.0642.v1). Aragnou, E.; Watt, S.; Nguyen Duc, H.; Cheeseman, C.; Riley, M.; Leys, J.; White, S.; Salter, D.; Azzi, M.; Tzu-Chi Chang, L.; Morgan, G.; Hannigan, I. Dust Transport from Inland Australia and its Impact on Air Quality and Health on the Eastern Coast of Australia during the February 2019 Dust Storm.. Preprints 2020, 2020110642 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202011.0642.v1).

Abstract

Dust storms originating from Central Australia and western New South Wales frequently cause high particles concentration at many sites across New South Wales, both inland and along the coast. This study focussed on a dust storm event in February 2019 which affect air quality across the state as detected at many ambient monitoring stations in the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) air quality monitoring network. The WRF-Chem (Weather Research and Forecast Model – Chemistry) model is used to study the formation, dispersion and transport of dust across the state of New South Wales (NSW, Australia). Wildfires also happened in northern NSW at the same time of the dust storm in February 2019, and their emissions are taken into account in WRF-Chem model by using Fire Inventory from NCAR (FINN) as emission input. The model performance is evaluated and is shown to predict fairly accurate the PM2.5 and PM10 concentration as compared to observation. The predicted PM2.5 concentration over New South Wales during 5 days from 11 to 15 February 2019 is then used to estimate the impact of the February 2019 dust storm event on three health endpoints namely mortality, respiratory and cardiac diseases hospitalisation rates. The results show that even though as the daily average of PM2.5 over some parts of the state, especially in western and north western NSW near the centre of the dust storm and wild fires, are very high (over 900 µg/m3), the population exposure is low due to the sparse population. The top five Statistical Area Level 4 regions with the most impact in term of mortality, respiratory diseases hospitalisation and cardiac disease hospitalisation are Far West and Orana, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, New England and North West, Sydney – Inner South West and either Central Coast (mortality) or Sydney – Parramatta (respiratory diseases hospitalisation) or Sydney – Inner West (cardiac diseases hospitalisation). Generally, the health impact is similar in order of magnitude to that caused by biomass burnings events from wildfires or from hazardous reduction burnings (HRBs) near populous centres such as in Sydney in May 2016. One notable difference is the higher respiratory diseases hospitalisation for this dust event (161) compared to fire event (24).

Subject Areas

Dust storm; Central and Eastern Australia; WRF-Chem model; Air Quality; Health Impact

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