Climate change impact on particulate matter source contributions to the air quality in Aveiro Region

18:00 Tuesday 28 May




Sílvia Coelho (Portugal) 1; Sandra Rafael (Portugal) 1; Joana Ferreira (Portugal) 1; Myriam Lopes (Portugal) 1

1 - University of Aveiro

Air quality is strongly dependent on meteorological conditions and it is therefore sensitive to climate change. According to the latest report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), climate change will have complex effects on chemistry, transport and deposition of local air pollutants. Nowadays, the Aveiro Region (central region of Portugal) is recognized as one of the regions affected by poor air quality, being particulate matter (PM), the most critical air pollutant. Citizens’ exposure to particulate matter has been threatening human health, increasing mortality and morbidity and contributing to a broad range of negative health outcomes. This highlights the need of studies that assess the future climate change effects in the air quality of Aveiro Region, at a high-resolution level, which can allow the identification of early climate adaptation strategies.

For this analysis, the Weather Research and Forecasting model, forced by the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model, at a high-resolution level, was applied for two temporal periods, one statistically representative of the recent-past (1976-2005) and other statistically representative of the medium-term future climate (2041-2070). For the future simulation, the IPCC greenhouse gas concentration scenario RCP8.5 was adopted. The meteorological outputs were used as inputs for the Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions, with its Particulate Source Apportionment Technology, to quantify the contributions of multiple source areas, categories, and pollutant types to ambient pollution, over the Aveiro Region.

Preliminary results of source apportionment modelling points out to a great influence of the urban sources like road traffic and residential combustion emissions on the PM levels in Aveiro Region. Furthermore, since future climate results indicate a trend to higher values of daily minimum and maximum temperatures, as well as a reduction of the number of precipitation days, an increase of up to 8% of PM concentrations in urban areas is expected.

The applied approach constitutes an added-value in the evaluation of climate change and its impacts in the air quality, as well as on the contributions of different source activities and source regions to PM concentrations. This information can be useful in understanding the potential benefits of reducing emissions from a particular source category and in designing integrated climate change and air quality management strategies.