Separating spatial patterns in pollution attributable to woodsmoke and other sources, during daytime and night-time hours, in Christchurch, New Zealand

//Separating spatial patterns in pollution attributable to woodsmoke and other sources, during daytime and night-time hours, in Christchurch, New Zealand

During winter nights, woodsmoke may be a predominant source of air pollution, even in cities with many sources. Since two major earthquakes resulted in major structural damage in 2010 and 2011, reliance on woodburning for home heating has increased substantially in Christchurch, New Zealand (NZ), along with intensive construction/demolition activities. Further, because NZ is a relatively isolated western country, it offers the unique opportunity to disentangle multiple source impacts in the absence of long-range transport pollution. Finally, although many spatial saturation studies have been published, and levoglucosan is an established tracer for woodburning emissions, few studies have monitored multiple sites simultaneously for this or other organic constituents, with the ability to distinguish spatial patterns for daytime vs. night-time hours, in complex urban settings. The authors captured seven-day integrated samples of PM2.5, and elemental and organic tracers of woodsmoke and diesel emissions, during “daytime” (7?a.m. -5:30?p.m.) and “night-time” (7?p.m. – 5:30?a.m.) hours, at nine sites across commercial and residential areas, over three weeks in early winter (May 2014). At a subset of six sites, we also sampled during hypothesized “peak” woodburning hours (7?p.m. – 12?a.m.), to differentiate emissions during “active” residential woodburning, vs. overnight smouldering. Concentrations of PM2.5 were, on average, were twice as high during night-time than daytime [µ?=?18.4 (SD = 6.13) vs. 9.21 (SD = 6.13) µg/m3], with much greater differences in woodsmoke tracers (i.e.,levoglucosan [µ?=?1.83 (SD = 0.82) vs. 0.34 (SD = 0.17) µg/m3], potassium) and indicators of treated- or painted-wood burning (e.g., arsenic, lead). Only nitrogen dioxide, calcium, iron, and manganese (tracers of vehicular emissions) were higher during daytime. Levoglucosan and most PAHs were higher during “active” woodburning, vs. overnight smouldering. Our time-stratified spatial saturation detected strong spatial variability throughout the study area, which distinctly differed during daytime vs. night time hours, and quantified the substantial contribution of woodsmoke to overnight spatial variation in PM2.5 across Christchurch. Daytime vs. night-time differences were greater than those observed across sites. Traffic, especially diesel, contributed substantially to daytime NO2 and spatial gradients in non-woodsmoke constituents.

Authors: Tunno B, Longley I, Somervell E, Edwards S, Olivares G, Gray S, Cambal L, Chubb L, Roper C, Coulson G, Clougherty JE. ; Full Source: Environmental Research. 2019 Jan 16; 171:228-238. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.01.033. [Epub ahead of print]