Air Quality in Urban Environments in the Eastern Mediterranean

  • A. KaranasiouEmail author
  • N. Mihalopoulos
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 26)


The Eastern Mediterranean Basin, EMB, is characterised as an air pollution hotspot, located at a crossroad of air masses coming from Europe, Asia and Africa. The Eastern Mediterranean region is subject to several inputs of natural and anthropogenic pollutants that are generated from numerous regional and local sources. Pollution in the area results from industrial and traffic sources and domestic heating mostly from Europe, Balkans and the Black Sea. In addition dust storms coming mainly from the Sahara desert and to a lesser extent from the Middle East transport high quantities of mineral aerosols which increase significantly the levels of particulate matter. Forest fires and agricultural burning emissions are also affecting the area during the dry season. Moreover, marine aerosols and ship emissions originated from the highly busy shipping routes of the Mediterranean Sea are considered to be an important contributor to the EMB aerosol burden. Finally, other specific features of the Mediterranean Basin such as the high radiation intensity all year long and the high temperature significantly enhance the formation of secondary aerosols.


Aerosol Emission sources Greece Mediterranean Basin Particulate matter Road dust Sahara dust Secondary aerosol Ship emissions 


  1. 1.
    Kanakidou M, Mihalopoulos N, Kindap T, Im U, Vrekoussis M, Gerasopoulos E, Dermitzaki E, Unal A, Kocak M, Markakis K, Melas D, Kouvarakis G, Youssef AF, Richter A, Hatzianastassiou N, Hilboll A, Ebojie F, von Savigny C, Ladstaetter-Weissenmayer A, Burrows J, Moubasher H (2011) Megacities as hot spots of air pollution in the East Mediterranean. Atmos Environ 45:1223–1235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Millán MM, Sanz MJ, Salvador R, Mantilla E (2002) Atmospheric dynamics and ozone cycles related to nitrogen deposition in the western Mediterranean. Environ Pollut 118:167–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rodriguez S, Querol X, Alastuey A, de la Rosa J (2007) Atmospheric particulate matter and air quality in the Mediterranean: a review. Environ Chem Lett 5:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kallos G, Kotroni V, Lagouvardos K, Papadopoulos A (1998) On the long-range transport of air pollutants from Europe to Africa. Geophys Res Lett 25:619–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Querol X, Pey J, Pandolfi M, Alastuey A, Cusack M, Pérez N, Moreno T, Viana M, Mihalopoulos N, Kallos G, Kleanthous S (2009) African dust contributions to mean ambient PM10 mass-levels across the Mediterranean Basin. Atmos Environ 43:4266–4277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Querol X, Alastuey A, Pey J, Cusack M, Pérez N, Mihalopoulos N, Theodosi C, Gerasopoulos E, Kubilay N, Koçak M (2009) Variability in regional background aerosols within the Mediterranean. Atmos Chem Phys 9:4575–4591. doi: 10.5194/acp-9-4575-2009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sciare J, Bardouki H, Moulin C, Mihalopoulos N (2003) Aerosol sources and their contribution to the chemical composition of aerosols in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Atmos Chem Phys 3:291–302Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lelieveld J, Berresheim H, Borrmann S, Crutzen PJ et al (2002) Global air pollution crossroads over the Mediterranean. Science 298:794–799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eleftheriadis K, Colbeck I, Housiadas C, Lazaridis M, Mihalopoulos N, Mitsakou C, Smolik J, Zdimal V (2006) Size distribution, composition and origin of the submicron aerosol in the marine boundary layer during the eastern Mediterranean “SUB-AERO” experiment. Atmos Environ 40:6245–6260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kouvarakis G, Tsigaridis K, Kanakidou M, Mihalopoulos N (2000) Temporal variations of surface regional background ozone over Crete Island in southeast Mediterranean. J Geophys Res 105:4399–4407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Millan MM, Salvador R, Mantilla E, Kallos G (1997) Photo-oxidant dynamics in the Mediterranean basin in summer: results from European research projects. J Geophys Res 102:8811–8823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tørseth K, Aas W, Breivik K, Fjæraa AM, Fiebig M, Hjellbrekke AG, Lund Myhre C, Solberg S, Yttri KE (2012) Introduction to the European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) and observed atmospheric composition change during 1972–2009. Atmos Chem Phys 12:5447–5481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Aleksandropoulou V, Eleftheriadis K, Diapouli E, Torseth K, Lazaridis M (2012) Assessing PM10 source reduction in urban agglomerations for air quality compliance. J Environ Monit 14:266–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chaloulakou A et al (2003) Measurements of PM10 and PM2.5 particle concentrations in Athens, Greece. Atmos Environ 37:649–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eleftheriadis K, Balis D, Ziomas I, Colbeck I, Manalis N (1998) Atmospheric aerosol and gaseous species in Athens, Greece. Atmos Environ 32:2183–2191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Grivas G, Chaloulakou A, Kassomenos P (2008) An overview of the PM10 pollution problem, in the Metropolitan Area of Athens, Greece, Assessment of controlling factors and potential impact of long-range transport. Sci Total Environ 389:165–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Karanasiou A, Siskos PA, Eleftheriadis K (2009) Assessment of source apportionment by Positive Matrix Factorization analysis on fine and coarse urban aerosol size fractions. Atmos Environ 43:3385–3395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Karanasiou A, Sitaras IE, Siskos PA, Eleftheriadis K (2007) Size distribution and sources of trace metals and n-alkanes in the Athens urban aerosol during summer. Atmos Environ 41:2368–2381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pateraki S, Assimakopoulos VD, Bougiatioti A, Kouvarakis G, Mihalopoulos N, Vasilakos C (2012) Carbonaceous and ionic compositional patterns of fine particles over an urban Mediterranean area. Sci Total Environ 424:251–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Scheff P, Valiozis C (1990) Characterization and source identification of respirable particulate matter in Athens, Greece. Atmos Environ 24:203–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Theodosi C, Grivas G, Zarmpas P, Chaloulakou A, Mihalopoulos N (2011) Mass and chemical composition of size-segregated aerosols (PM1, PM2.5, PM10) over Athens, Greece: local versus regional sources. Atmos Chem Phys. doi: 10.5194/acp-11-11895-2011
  22. 22.
    Vardoulakis S, Kassomenos P (2008) Sources and factors affecting PM10 levels in two European cities: Implications for local air quality management. Atmos Environ 42:3949–3963CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Manoli E, Voutsa D, Samara C (2002) Chemical characterization and source identification/apportionment of fine and coarse air particles in Thessaloniki, Greece. Atmos Environ 36:949–961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Samara C et al (1990) Characterization of airborne particulate matter in Thessaloniki, Greece. 1. Source related heavy-metal concentrations within TSP. Toxicol Environ Chem 29:107–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tsitouridou R, Samara C (1993) First results of acidic and alkaline constituents determination in air particulates of Thessaloniki, Greece. Atmos Environ Part B 27:313–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Chrysikou LP, Samara C (2009) Seasonal variation of the size distribution of urban particulate matter and associated organic pollutants in the ambient air. Atmos Environ 43:4557–4569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Chaloulakou A, Kassomenos P, Grivas G, Spyrellis N (2005) Particulate matter and black smoke concentration levels in central Athens, Greece. Environ Int 31:651–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Grivas G, Chaloulakou A, Samara C, Spyrellis N (2004) Spatial and temporal variation of PM10 mass concentrations within the greater area of Athens, Greece, Water Air Soil Pollut 158:357–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cusack M, Alastuey A, Pérez N, Pey J, Querol X (2012) Trends of particulate matter (PM2.5) and chemical composition at a regional background site in the Western Mediterranean over the last nine years (2002–2010). Atmos Chem Phys Discuss 12:10995–11033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Triantafyllou E, Biskos G (2012) Overview of the temporal variation of PM10 mass concentrations in the two major cities in Greece: Athens and Thessaloniki, Global Nest article in pressGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Gerasopoulos E, Kouvarakis G, Babasakalis P, Vrekoussis M, Putaud J-P, Mihalopoulos N (2006) Origin and variability of particulate matter (PM10) mass concentrations over the Eastern Mediterranean. Atmos Environ 40:4679–4690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lazaridis M, Latos M, Aleksandropoulou V, Hov Ø, Papayannis A, Tørseth K (2008) Contribution of forest fire emissions to atmospheric pollution in Greece. Air Qual Atmos Health 1:143–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Siskos PA, Bakeas EB, Lioli I, Smirnioudi VN, Koutrakis P (2001) Chemical characterization of PM2.5 aerosols in Athens-Greece. Environ Technol 22:687–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Terzi E, Argyropoulos G, Bougatioti A, Mihalopoulos N, Nikolaou K, Samara C (2010) Chemical composition and mass closure of ambient PM10 at urban sites. Atmos Environ 44:2231–2239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Amiridis V, Balis DS, Kazadzis S, Bais A, Giannakaki E, Papayannis A, Zerefos C (2005) Four-year aerosol observations with a Raman lidar at Thessaloniki, Greece, in the framework of European Aerosol Research Lidar Network (EARLINET). J Geophys Res 110:D21203. doi: 10.1029/2005JD006190 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Samara C, Kouimtzis TH, Katsoulos GA (1994) Characterisation of airborne particulate matter in Thessaloniki, Greece Ð Part III: comparison of two multivariate modelling approaches for the sources of apportionment of heavy metal concentrations within total suspended particles. Toxicol Environ Chem 44:147–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Samara C et al (2003) Chemical mass balance source apportionment of PM10 in an industrialized urban area of Northern Greece. Atmos Environ 37:41–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Argyropoulos G, Manoli E, Kouras A, Samara C (2012) Concentrations and source apportionment of PM10 and associated major and trace elements in the Rhodes Island, Greece. Sci Total Environ 432:12–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Middleton NJ, Goudie AS (2001) Saharan dust: sources and trajectories. Trans Inst Br Geogr NS 26:165–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kallos G, Astitha M, Katsafados P, Spyrou C (2007) Long-range transport of anthropogenically and naturally produced particulate matter in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic: current state of knowledge. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 46:1230–1251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Mitsakou C, Kallos G, Papantoniou N, Spyrou C, Solomos S, Astitha M, Housiadas C (2008) Saharan dust levels in Greece and received inhalation doses. Atmos Chem Phys 8:11967–11996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Papayannis A, Mamouri RE, Amiridis V, Kazadzis S, Perez C, Tsaknakis G, Kokkalis P, Baldasano JM (2009) Systematic lidar observations of Saharan dust layers over Athens, Greece in the frame of EARLINET project (2004e2006). Ann Geophys 27:3611–3620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Remoundaki E, Bourliva A, Kokkalis P, Mamouri RE, Papayannis A, Grigoratos T, Samara C, Tsezos M (2011) Composition of PM10 during a Saharan dust transport event over Athens, Greece. Sci Total Environ 409:4361–4372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Markakis K, Poupkou A, Melas D, Zerefos C (2010) A GIS based methodology for the compilation of an anthropogenic PM10 emission inventory in Greece. Environ Pollut Res 1(2):71–81Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Liu Y, Kahn RA, Chaloulakou A, Koutrakis P (2009) Analysis of the impact of the forest fires in August 2007 on air quality of Athens using multi-sensor aerosol remote sensing data, meteorology and surface observations. Atmos Environ 43(21):3310–3318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Sciare J, Oikonomou K, Favez O, Markaki Z, Liakakou E, Cachier H, Mihalopoulos N (2008) Long-term measurements of carbonaceous aerosols in the Eastern Mediterranean: evidence of long-range transport of biomass burning. Atmos Chem Phys 8:5551–5563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Amiridis V, Zerefos C, Kazadzis S, Gerasopoulos E, Eleftheratos K, Vrekoussis M, Stohl A, Mamouri RE, Kokkalis P, Papayannis A, Eleftheriadis K, Diapouli E, Keramitsoglou I, Kontoes C, Kotroni V, Lagouvardos K, Marinou E, Giannakaki E, Kostopoulou E, Giannakopoulos C, Richter A, Burrows JP, Mihalopoulos N (2012) Impact of the 2009 Attica wild fires on the air quality in urban Athens. Atmos Environ 46:536–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Eyring V, Isaksen ISA, Berntsen T, Collins WJ, Corbett JJ, Endresen O, Grainger RG, Moldanova J, Schlager H, Stevenson DS (2010) Transport impacts on atmosphere and climate: shipping. Atmos Environ 44:4735–4771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Miranda AI, Marchi E, Ferretti M, Millán MM (2008) Chapter 9 Forest fires and air quality issues in Southern Europe. Dev Environ Sci 8:209–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Moldanová J, Fridell E, Popovicheva O, Demirdjian B, Tishkova V, Faccinetto A, Focsa C (2009) Characterisation of particulate matter and gaseous emissions from a large ship diesel engine. Atmos Environ 43:2632–2641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Viana M, Amato F, Alastuey A, Querol X, Saúl G, Herce-Garraleta D, Fernandez-Patier R (2009) Chemical tracers of particulate emissions from commercial shipping. Environ Sci Technol 43:7472–7477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Marmer E, Langmann B (2005) Impact of ship emissions on the Mediterranean summertime pollution and climate: a regional model study. Atmos Environ 39:4659–4669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Tzannatos E (2010) Ship emissions and their externalities for Greece. Atmos Environ 44:2194–2202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Mazzei F, D’Alessandro A, Lucarelli F, Nava S, Prati P, Valli G, Vecchi R (2008) Characterization of particulate matter sources in an urban environment. Sci Total Environ 401:81–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Pandolfi M, Gonzalez-Castanedo Y, Alastuey A, da la Rosa JD, Mantilla E, de la Campa AS, Querol X, Pey J, Amato F, Moreno T (2011) Source apportionment of PM10 and PM2.5 at multiple sites in the strait of Gibraltar by PMF: impact of shipping emissions. Environ Sci Pollut Res 18:260–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Becagli S, Sferlazzo DM, Pace G, di Sarra A, Bommarito C, Calzolai G, Ghedini C, Lucarelli F, Meloni D, Monteleone F, Severi M, Traversi R, Udisti R (2012) Evidence for heavy fuel oil combustion aerosols from chemical analyses at the island of Lampedusa: a possible large role of ships emissions in the Mediterranean. Atmos Chem Phys 12:3479–3492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Tzannatos E (2010) Ship emissions and their externalities for the port of Piraeus – Greece. Atmos Environ 44:400–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Mihalopoulos N, Kerminen VM, Kanakidou M, Berresheim H, Sciare J (2007) Formation of particulate sulfur species (sulfate and methanesulfonate) during summer over the Eastern Mediterranean: a modelling approach. Atmos Environ 41(32):6860–6871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Kouvarakis G, Bardouki H, Mihalopoulos N (2002) Sulfur budget above the Eastern Mediterranean: relative contribution of anthropogenic and biogenic sources. Tellus 54B:201–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Mamane Y, Gottlieb J (1992) Nitrate formation on sea salt and mineral particles—a single particle approach. Atmos Environ 26A:1763–1769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Metzger S, Mihalopoulos N, Lelieveld J (2006) Importance of mineral cations and organics in gas–aerosol partitioning of reactive nitrogen compounds: case study based on MINOS results. Atmos Chem Phys 6:2549–2567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Grivas G, Cheristanidis S, Chaloulakou A (2012) Elemental and organic carbon in the urban environment of Athens. Seasonal and diurnal variations and estimates of secondary organic carbón. Sci Total Environ 414:535–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Sillanpaa M, Hillamo R, Saarikoski S, Frey A, Pennanen A, Makkonen U et al (2006) Chemical composition and mass closure of particulate matter at six urban sites in Europe. Atmos Environ 40(Suppl 2):212–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Theodosi C, Bougiatioti A, Smouliotis D, Zarmpas P, Kocak M, Mihalopoulos N (2012) Carbonaceous aerosols over the Mediterranean and Black Sea, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Meteorology Climatology and Atmospheric Physics, Athens 29/5-1/6 2012, Advance in meteorology, climatology and atmospheric physics, Springer Atmospheric Sciences, Helmis CG, Natsos PT (eds) Volume 1, doi 10.1007/978-3-642-291172-2, 2012, pp 1233–1238Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Pio C, Cerqueira M, Harrison RM, Nunes T, Mirante F, Alves C, Oliveira C, Sanchez de la Campa A, Artíñano B, Matos M (2011) OC/EC ratio observations in Europe: re-thinking the approach for apportionment between primary and secondary organic carbon. Atmos Environ 45:6121–6132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Eleftheriadis K, Diapouli E, Gini MI, Vasilatou V, Samara C, Argyropoulos G (2011) Source apportionment of airborne particulate matter for three urban centers in Greece. In: European aerosol conference, 4–9 September 2011Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Kopanakis I, Eleftheriadis K, Mihalopoulos N, Lydakis-Simantiris N, Katsivela E, Pentari D, Zarmpas P, Lazaridis M (2012) Atmos Res 106:93–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Harrison RM, Pio CA (1983) Size-differentiated composition of inorganic atmospheric aerosols of both marine and polluted continental origin. Atmos Environ 17:1733–1738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Querol X, Alastuey A, Ruiz CR, Artiñano B, Hanssonc HC, Harrison RM, Buringh E, ten Brink HM, Lutz M, Bruckmannh P, Straehl P, Schneider J (2004) Speciation and origin of PM10 and PM2.5 in selected European cities. Atmos Environ 38:6547–6555Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Department of ChemistryUniversity of CreteHeraklionGreece

Personalised recommendations