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Detecting and quantifying the contribution made by aircraft emissions to ambient concentrations of nitrogen oxides in the vicinity of a large international airport

Carslaw, D.C., Beevers, S.D., Ropkins, K. and Bell, M.C. (2006) Detecting and quantifying the contribution made by aircraft emissions to ambient concentrations of nitrogen oxides in the vicinity of a large international airport. Atmospheric Environment, 40 (28). pp. 5424-5434. ISSN 1352-2310

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Abstract

Plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) have been held back because of concerns that the development would lead to annual mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in excess of EU Directives, which must be met by 2010. The dominant effect of other sources of NOX close to the airport, primarily from road traffic, makes it difficult to detect and quantify the contribution made by the airport to local NOX and NO2 concentrations. This work presents approaches that aim to detect and quantify the airport contribution to NOX at a network of seven measurement sites close to the airport. Two principal approaches are used. First, a graphical technique using bivariate polar plots that develops the idea of a pollution rose is used to help discriminate between different source types. The sampling uncertainties associated with the technique have been calculated through a randomised re-sampling approach. Second, the unique pattern of aircraft activity at LHR enables data filtering techniques to be used to statistically verify the presence of aircraft sources. It is shown that aircraft NOX sources can be detected to at least 2.7 km from the airport, despite that the airport contribution is very small at that distance. Using these approaches, estimates have been made of the airport contribution to long-term mean concentrations of NOX and NO2. At the airport boundary we estimate that approximately 28 % (34 μg m-3) of the annual mean NOX is due to airport operations. At background locations 2-3 km downwind of the airport we estimate that the upper limit of the airport contribution to be less than 15 % (< 10 μg m-3). This work also provides approaches that would help validate and refine dispersion modelling studies used for airport assessments.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2006 Elsevier B.V. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Atmospheric Environment. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: London, urban air quality, Heathrow Airport, aircraft emissions, source apportionment.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > Institute for Transport Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Adrian May
Date Deposited: 03 May 2007
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:07
Published Version: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/13522...
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.04.062
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2449

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