Characterization of traffic-related PM concentration distribution and fluctuation patterns in near-highway urban residential street canyons
Analyses of outdoor traffic-related particulate matter (PM) concentration distribution and fluctuation patterns in urban street canyons within a microscale distance of less than 500 m from a highway source are presented as part of the results from the Brooklyn Traffic Real-Time Ambient Pollutant Penetration and Environmental Dispersion (B-TRAPPED) study. Various patterns of spatial and temporal changes in the street canyon PM concentrations were investigated using time-series data of real-time PM concentrations measured during multiple monitoring periods. Concurrent time-series data of local street canyon wind conditions and wind data from the John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport National Weather Service (NWS) were used to characterize the effects of various wind conditions on the behavior of street canyon PM concentrations.
Our results suggest that wind direction may strongly influence time-averaged mean PM concentration distribution patterns in near-highway urban street canyons. The rooftop-level wind speeds were found to be strongly correlated with the PM concentration fluctuation intensities in the middle sections of the street blocks. The ambient turbulence generated by shifting local wind directions (angles) showed a good correlation with the PM concentration fluctuation intensities along the entire distance of the first and second street blocks only when the wind angle standard deviations were larger than 30 degrees. Within-canyon turbulent shearing, caused by fluctuating local street canyon wind speeds, showed no correlation with PM concentration fluctuation intensities. The time-averaged mean PM concentration distribution along the longitudinal distances of the street blocks when wind direction was mostly constantly parallel to the street was found to be similar to the distribution pattern for the entire monitoring period when wind direction fluctuated wildly. Finally, we showed that two different PM concentration metrics—time-averaged mean concentration and number of concentration peaks above a certain threshold level—can possibly lead to different assessments of spatial concentration distribution patterns.