Reliable and self-consistent data on air quality are needed for an extensive period of time for conducting long-term, or even lifetime health impact assessments. We have modelled the urban-scale concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area for a period of 35 years, from 1980 to 2014. The regional background concentrations were evaluated based on reanalyses of the atmospheric composition on global and European scales, using the SILAM model. The high-resolution urban computations included both the emissions originated from vehicular traffic (separately exhaust and suspension emissions) and those from small-scale combustion, and were conducted using the road network dispersion model CAR-FMI and the multiple-source Gaussian dispersion model UDM-FMI. The modelled concentrations of PM2.5 agreed fairly well with the measured data at a regional background station and at four urban measurement stations, during 1999-2014. The modelled concentration trends were also evaluated for earlier years, until 1988, using proxy analyses. There was no systematic deterioration of the agreement of predictions and data for earlier years (the 1980s and 1990s), compared with the results for more recent years (2000s and early 2010s). The local vehicular emissions were about 5 times higher in the 1980s, compared with the emissions during the latest considered years. The local small-scale combustion emissions increased slightly over time. The highest urban concentrations of PM2.5 occurred in the 1980s; these have since decreased to about to a half of the highest values. In general, regional background was the largest contribution in this area. Vehicular exhaust has been the most important local source, but the relative shares of both small-scale combustion and vehicular non-exhaust emissions have increased in time. The study has provided long-term, high-resolution concentration databases on regional and urban scales that can be used for the assessment of health effects associated with air pollution.
Kukkonen, J., Kangas, L., Kauhaniemi, M., Sofiev, M., Aarnio, M., Jaakkola, J. J. K., … Karppinen, A. (2018). Modelling of the urban concentrations of PM2.5 on a high resolution for a period of 35 years, for the assessment of lifetime exposure and health effects. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18(11), 8041–8064. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-8041-2018