Spatial variation of ultrafine particles and black carbon in two cities: Results from a short-term measurement campaign

Jochem O Klompmaker, Denise R Montagne, Kees Meliefste, Gerard Hoek, Bert Brunekreef

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Recently, short-term monitoring campaigns have been carried out to investigate the spatial variation of air pollutants within cities. Typically, such campaigns are based on short-term measurements at relatively large numbers of locations. It is largely unknown how well these studies capture the spatial variation of long term average concentrations. The aim of this study was to evaluate the within-site temporal and between-site spatial variation of the concentration of ultrafine particles (UFPs) and black carbon (BC) in a short-term monitoring campaign. In Amsterdam and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) measurements of number counts of particles larger than 10nm as a surrogate for UFP and BC were performed at 80 sites per city. Each site was measured in three different seasons of 2013 (winter, spring, summer). Sites were selected from busy urban streets, urban background, regional background and near highways, waterways and green areas, to obtain sufficient spatial contrast. Continuous measurements were performed for 30min per site between 9 and 16h to avoid traffic spikes of the rush hour. Concentrations were simultaneously measured at a reference site to correct for temporal variation. We calculated within- and between-site variance components reflecting temporal and spatial variations. Variance ratios were compared with previous campaigns with longer sampling durations per sample (24h to 14days). The within-site variance was 2.17 and 2.44 times higher than the between-site variance for UFP and BC, respectively. In two previous studies based upon longer sampling duration much smaller variance ratios were found (0.31 and 0.09 for UFP and BC). Correction for temporal variation from a reference site was less effective for the short-term monitoring campaign compared to the campaigns with longer duration. Concentrations of BC and UFP were on average 1.6 and 1.5 times higher at urban street compared to urban background sites. No significant differences between the other site types and urban background were found. The high within to between-site concentration variances may result in the loss of precision and low explained variance when average concentrations from short-term campaigns are used to develop land use regression models.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)266-275
    Number of pages10
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


    • : Ultrafine particles
    • Black carbon
    • Mobile monitoring
    • Spatial variation
    • Variance ratio


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