Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

High NO2 cOncentrations Measured by Passive Samplers in Czech Cities: Unresolved Aftermath of Dieselgate?

Version 1 : Received: 1 April 2021 / Approved: 2 April 2021 / Online: 2 April 2021 (18:28:39 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Vojtisek-Lom, M.; Suta, M.; Sikorova, J.; Sram, R.J. High NO2 Concentrations Measured by Passive Samplers in Czech Cities: Unresolved Aftermath of Dieselgate? Atmosphere 2021, 12, 649. Vojtisek-Lom, M.; Suta, M.; Sikorova, J.; Sram, R.J. High NO2 Concentrations Measured by Passive Samplers in Czech Cities: Unresolved Aftermath of Dieselgate? Atmosphere 2021, 12, 649.

Journal reference: Atmosphere 2021, 12, 649
DOI: 10.3390/atmos12050649

Abstract

This work examines the effects of two problematic trends in diesel passenger car emissions – increasing NO2/NOx ratio by conversion of NO into NO2 in catalysts and a disparity between the emission limit and the actual emissions in everyday driving – on ambient air quality in Prague. NO2 concentrations were measured by 104 membrane-closed Palmes passive samplers at 65 locations in Prague in March-April and September-October of 2019. NO2 concentrations measured by city stations during those periods were comparable with the 2016-2019. The average measured NO2 concentrations at the selected locations, after correcting for the 18.5% positive bias of samplers co-located with a monitoring station, were 36 µg/m3 (range 16-69 µg/m3, median 35.3 µg/m3), with the EU annual limit of 40 µg/m3 exceeded at 32% of locations. The NO2 concentrations have correlated well (R2=0.76) with the 2019 average daily vehicle counts, corrected for additional emissions due to uphill travel and intersections. In addition to expected “hot-spots” at busy intersections in the city center, new ones were identified, i.e. along a six-lane road V Holešovičkách. Comparison of data from six monitoring stations during March 15-April 30, 2020 travel restrictions with the same period in 2016-2019 revealed an overall reduction of NO2 and even a larger reduction of NO. The spatial analysis of data from passive samplers and time analysis of data during the travel restrictions both demonstrate a consistent positive correlation between traffic intensity and NO2 concentrations along/near the travel path. The slow pace of NO2 reductions in Prague suggests that stricter vehicle NOx emission limits, introduced in the last decade or two, have so far failed to sufficiently reduce the ambient NO2 concentrations, and there is no clear sign of remedy of Dieselgate NOx excess emissions.

Keywords

NO2; passive sampler; Dieselgate; Prague; traffic volume; citizen science; air quality; public policy; health effects

Subject

EARTH SCIENCES, Atmospheric Science

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