ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0642.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: Dust storm; Central and Eastern Australia; WRF-Chem model; Air Quality; Health Impact
Online: 25 November 2020 (13:46:05 CET)
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).
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0126.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: Covid-19 lockdown; air quality; Greater Metropolitan Region of Sydney; WRF-CMAQ
Online: 3 March 2021 (10:53:58 CET)
In early 2020 from April to early June, the metropolitan area of Sydney as well as the rest of New South Wales (NSW, Australia) experienced a period of lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus in the community. The effect of reducing anthropogenic activities including transportation had an impact on the urban environment in term of air quality which is shown to have improved for a number of pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxides (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO), based on monitoring data on ground and from satellite. Besides primary pollutants CO and NOx emitted from mobile sources, PM2.5 (primary and secondary) and secondary ozone (O3) during the lockdown period will also be analysed using both air quality data and modelling method. The results show that NO2, CO and PM2.5 levels decreased during the lockdown, but O3 instead increased. The change in the concentration levels however are small considering the large reduction in traffic volume of ~30%. By estimate the decrease in traffic volume in Sydney region, the corresponding decrease in emission input to the WRF-CMAQ (Weather Research and Forecasting - Community Multiscale Air Quality Modeling System) air quality model is then used to estimate the effect of lockdown on the air quality especially CO, NO2, O3 and PM2.5 in the Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR) of Sydney. COVID-19 lockdown period is an ideal case to study the effect of motor vehicle and mobile source contribution to air pollutants such as those listed above in the GMR.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0243.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: wildfires; summer 2019-2010; WRF-Chem; pollutant transport; air quality effect; health impact
Online: 9 March 2021 (09:03:10 CET)
The 2019-2020 summer wildfire event on the east coast of Australia was a series of major wildfires occurring from November 2019 to end of January 2020 across the states of Queensland, New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia. The wildfires were unprecedent in scope and the extensive extend of the wildfires has caused smoke pollutants transported not only to New Zealand but across the Pacific Ocean to South America. At the height of the wildfires, smoke plumes were injected into the stratosphere at height up to 25km and hence transported across the globe. Based on meteorological and air quality simulation using WRF-Chem model, air quality monitoring data collected during the bushfire period and remote sensing data from MODIS and CALIPSO satellites, the extend of the wildfires and the pollutant transport, and their impacts on air quality and health on exposed population in NSW can be analysed. The results showed that WRF-Chem model using Fire Emission Inventory from NCAR (FINN) predicts the dispersion and transport of pollutants and the predicted concentration of PM2.5 and other pollutants from wildfires reasonably well when compared with ground-based and satellite data. The impact on health endpoints such as mortality, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases hospitalisation across the modelling domain is then estimated. The estimated health impact is comparable with previous study based only on observation data, but the results in this study provide much more detailed spatially and temporally with regards to the health impact from the 2019-2020 wildfire.