Vertical Distribution of Airborne Particulate Matter in a Tropical Urban Environment: Changes in Physical and Chemical Characteristics

  • M. KalaiarasanEmail author
  • R. Balasubramanian
  • K. W. D. Cheong
  • K. W. Tham
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Air pollution has become a subject of great interest on the global scale from both the regulatory and the scientific points of view. This is a result of the expanding economies, increasing population and urbanization. Particulate matter pollution has become a serious concern in urban areas due to its adverse impacts on human health (US EPA 2009). Most of the previous studies reported in the literature on particulate air pollution deal with its temporal and spatial distributions as part of routine air quality monitoring (Hitchins et al. 2000; Wu et al. 2002; Levy et al. 2003; Morawska et al. 1999; Zhu et al. 2002), but little work has been done on its vertical distribution in the vicinity of buildings. The horizontal distribution of particles is of interest because it helps town planners to decide on the location of buildings and amenities considering the degree of exposure of occupants to fine and ultra fine particles. In addition to those studies, the vertical distribution of particles also merits consideration because it provides an understanding how particles are distributed with respect to the height of a building so that one can decide on the location of the natural air intake of the building, or the building orientation based on the source of particulate matter pollution.


Traffic Count Total Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon High Floor Particulate PAHs Point Block 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Balasubramanian R, Qian W-B (2003) Comprehensive characterization of PM2.5 aerosols in Singapore. J Geophys Res 108(D16): 4523. doi: 10.1029/2002JD002517
  2. Beckett KP, Freer-Smith P, Taylor G (2000) Effective tree species for local air quality management. J Arboric 26:12–19Google Scholar
  3. Cabada JC, Pandis SN (2002) Sources of atmospheric carbonaceous particulate matter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. JAMA 52:732–741Google Scholar
  4. Calvert JB (2004) Wind: an exploration of the wind
  5. Caselles J, Colliga C, Zornoza P (2002) Evaluation of trace element pollution from vehicle emissions in petunia plants. Water Air Soil Pollut 136:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chan AT (2002) Indoor-outdoor relationships of PM and nitrogen oxides under different outdoor meteorological conditions. Atmos Environ 36:1543–1551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chan LY, Kwok WS (2000) Vertical dispersion of suspended particulates in urban area of Hong Kong. Atmos Environ 34:4403–4412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chapman RS, Watkinson WP, Dreher KL, Costa DL (1997) Ambient particulate matter and respiratory and cardiovascular illness in adults: particle-borne transition metals and the heart-lung axis. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 4:331–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Charron A, Harrison RM (2003) Primary particle formation from vehicle emissions during exhaust dilution in the roadside atmosphere. Atmos Environ 37:4109–4119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cuhadaroglu B, Demirci E (1997) Influence of some meteorological factors on air pollution in Trabzon city. Energy Build 25:179–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Department of Statistics, Singapore,
  12. Dockery DW, Pope CA III, Xu X, Spengler JD, Ware JH, Fay ME et al (1993) An association between air pollution and mortality in six U.S. cities. N Engl J Med 329(24):1753–1759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eldred RA, Cahill TA, Pitchford M, Malm WC (1988) IMPROVE—a new remote area particulate monitoring system for visibility studies. In: Proceedings of the 81st Annual Meeting of APCA, Dallas, TXGoogle Scholar
  14. Frampton MW, Ghio AJ, Samet JM, Carson JL, Carter JD, Devlin RB (1999) Effects of aqueous extracts of PM10 filters from Utah Valley on human airway epithelial cells. Am J Physiol 277:960–967Google Scholar
  15. Fung JCH, Yim SHL, Karl A (2009) Air ventilation assessment of the oil street planning area by CFD approachGoogle Scholar
  16. Giugliano M, Lonati G, Butelli P, Romele L, Tardivo R, Grosso M (2005) Fine particulate matter (PM2.5–PM1) at urban sites with different traffic exposure. Atmos Environ 39:2421–2431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gupta A, Cheong KWD (2007) Physical characterization of particulate matter and ambient meteorological parameters at different indoor-outdoor locations in Singapore. Build Environ 42:237–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gupta A, Cheong KWE, Wong NH (2003) Characterization of particulate matter in the tropics. Int Conf Healthy Build 2:140–146Google Scholar
  19. Hien PD, Bac VT, Tham HC, Nhan DD, Vinh LD (2002) Influence of meteorological conditions on PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 concentrations during the monsoon season in Hanoi, Vietnam. Atmos Environ 36:3473–3484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hitchins J, Morawska L, Wolff R, Gilbert D (2000) Concentrations of submicrometer particles from vehicle emissions near a major road. Atmos Environ 34:51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hitchins J, Morawska L, Jamriska M (2001) Dispersion of particles from vehicle emissions around high- and low-rise building. Indoor Air 12:64–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ho KF, Lee SC, Chan CK, Yu JC, Chow JC, Yao XH (2003) Characterization of chemical species in PM2.5 and PM10 aerosols in Hong Kong. Atmos Environ 3:31–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. IARC (1989) Diesel and gasoline engine exhausts. Summaries and evaluation, vol 46. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyons, France, p 41Google Scholar
  24. IARC (2002) Monography on the evaluation of carcinogenic risk to humans. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyons, FranceGoogle Scholar
  25. IDEM (2009) Breathing zone. Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
  26. Impens RA, Delcarte E (1979) Survey of urban trees in Brussels, Belgium. J Arboric 5:169–176Google Scholar
  27. International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISSAC) (1998)
  28. Kakimoto H, Matsumoto Y, Sakai S, Kanoh F, Arashidani K, Tang N (2002) Comparison of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nitropolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in an industrialized city (Kitakyushu) and two commercial cities (Sapporo and Tokyo). J Health Sci 48:370–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Karthikeyan S, Balasubramanian R, See SW (2006) Optimization and validation of a low temperature microwave-assisted extraction method for analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in airborne particulate matter. Talanta, pp 79–86Google Scholar
  30. Kittelson DB, Johnson J, Watts W, Wei Q, Drayton M, Paulsen D, Bukowiecki N (2000) Diesel aerosol sampling in the atmosphere, SAE Paper No. 2000-01-2122Google Scholar
  31. Latini G, Grifoni RC, Passerini G (2002) Influence of meteorological parameters on urban and suburban air pollution. Air Pollution X, Trans Ecol Environ 53Google Scholar
  32. Le Tertre A, Medina S, Samoli E, Forsberg B, Michelozzi P, Boumghar A, Vonk JM, Bellini A, Atkinson R, Ayres JG, Sunyer J, Katsouyanni K (2002) Short-term effects of particulate air pollution on cardiovascular diseases in eight European cities. J Epidemiol Community Health 56(10):773–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Levy JI, Bennett DH, Melly SJ, Spengler JD (2003) Influence of traffic patterns on particulate matter and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations in Roxbury, Massachusetts. J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol 13(5):364–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Li CK, Kamens RM (1993) The use of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as source signatures in receptor modelling. Atmos Environ 27:523–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Li C, Fu J, Sheng G, Bi X, Hao Y, Wang X, Mai B (2005) Vertical distribution of PAHs in the indoor and outdoor PM2.5 in Guangzhou, China. Build Environ 40:329–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Manno E, Varrica D, Dongarrà G (2006) Metal distribution in road dust samples collected in an urban area close to a petrochemical plant at Gela, Sicily. Atmos Environ 40:5929–5941CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Millero FJ, Sohn ML (1992) Chemical oceanography. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, p 531Google Scholar
  38. Morawska L, Bofinger ND, Kocis L, Nwankwoala A (1998) Submicron and supermicron particles from diesel vehicle emissions. Environ Sci Technol 32:2033–2042CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morawska L, Thomas S, Gillbert D, Greenaway C, Rijnders E (1999) A study of the horizontal and vertical profile of sub micrometer particles in relation to a busy road. Atmos Environ 33:1261–1274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. NAAQS (2009) National Ambient Air Quality Standard. US EPA,
  41. NEA (2005) Annual Report, National Environmental Agency of Singapore.
  42. Ng E, Tam I, Ng A, Givoni B, Katzschner L, Kwok K, Murakami S, Wong NH, Wong KS, Cheng V, Davis A, Tsou JY, Chow B (2004) Final report: feasibility study for establishment of air ventilation assessment system, Technical Report for Planning Department, HKSARGoogle Scholar
  43. Nisbet C, LaGoy P (1992) Toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 16:290–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Oberdörster G, Utell MJ (2002) Ultrafine particles in the urban air: to the respiratory tract—and beyond? Environmental Health Perspect 110(8):A440–A441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Palmgren F, Wahlin P, Kildeso J, Afshari A, Fogh LC (2003) Characterization of particle emissions from the driving car fleet and the contribution to ambient and indoor particle concentrations. Phys Chem Earth 28:327–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pandey JS, Kumar R, Devotta S (2005) Health risks of NO2, SPM and SO2 in Delhi (India). Atmos Environ 39:6868–6874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pope CA III, Burnett RT, Thun MJ, Calle EE, Krewski D, Ito K, Thurston GD (2002) Lung cancer, cardiopulmonary mortality and long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution. J Am Med Assoc 287:1132–1141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Quackenboss JJ, Spengler JD, Kanarek MS, Letz R, Duffy CP (1986) Personal exposure to nitrogen dioxide: relationship to indoor/outdoor air quality and activity patterns. Environ Sci Technol 20:775–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ristovski Z, Morawska L, Hitchins J (1998) Submicrometer and supermicrometer particulate emission from spark ignition vehicles. Environ Sci Technol 32:3845–3852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rogak SN, Green SI, Robin C (1994) A study of vehicle emissions in a traffic tunnel in Vancouver, B.C. Presented in the Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northeast Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association, Eugene Oregon, WinchesterGoogle Scholar
  51. Rubino FM, Floridia L, Tavazzani M, Fustinoni S, Giampiccolo R, Colombi A (1998) Height profile of some air quality markers in the urban atmosphere surrounding a 100 m tower building. Atmos Environ 32:3569–3580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schwartz J (1994) What are people dying of on high air pollution days. Environ Res 64:26–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shi JP, Evans DE, Khan AA, Harrison RM (2001) Sources and concentration of nanoparticles (10 nm diameter) in the urban atmosphere. Atmos Environ 35:1193–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tai CC, Chong KC (1998) Development of Singapore’s Rapid Transit System and the Environment. Railways and the Environment (Part 2),
  55. Talebi SM, Adedi M (2005) Determination of atmospheric concentrations of inorganic anions by ion chromatography following ultrasonic extraction. J Chromatogr A 1094:118–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. US EPA (2009) Particulate matter: health and environment. US Environmental Protection Agency.
  57. Venkataraman C, Lyons JM, Fiedlander S (1994) Size distribution of aromatic hydrocarbons and elemental carbon, sampling measurement methods and source characterization. Environ Sci Technol 28:535–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wehner B, Birmili W, Gnauk T, Wiedensohler A (2002) Particle number size distribution in a street canyon and their transformation into the urban-air background: measurements and a simple model study. Atmos Environ 36:2215–2223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Weingartner E, Keller C, Stahel WA, Burtscher H, Baltensperger U (1997) Aerosol emission in a road tunnel. Atmos Environ 31:451–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. WHO (1987) Air quality guidelines for Europe. WHO Regional Publications, European Series No. 23, Regional Office for Europe, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  61. Wu Y, Hao J, Fu L, Wang Z, Tang G (2002) Vertical and horizontal profiles of airborne particulate matter near major roads in Macao, China. Atmos Environ 36:4907–4918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Yu J (2002) Chemical characterization of water soluble organic compounds in particulate matters in Hong Kong. A final report submitted for the provision of service to the Environmental Protection Department, HKSAR.
  63. Zappoli S, Andracchio A, Fuzzi S, Facchini MC, Gelencsér A, Kiss G, Krivácsy Z, Molnár A, Mészáros E, Hansson H-C, Rosman K, Zebühr Y (1999) Inorganic, organic and macromolecular components of fine aerosol in different areas of Europe in relation to their water solubility. Atmos Environ 33:2733–2743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zhu Y, Hinds WC, Kim S, Sioutas C (2002) Concentration and size distribution of ultra fine particles near a major highway. JAMA 52:1032–1042Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kalaiarasan
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Balasubramanian
    • 2
  • K. W. D. Cheong
    • 1
  • K. W. Tham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BuildingNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Division of Environmental Science and EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations