WIT Press

Assessing Background Air Pollutant Concentrations For Modelling Studies: Evaluation Of Addition Equations Under Irish Conditions


Free (open access)





Page Range

25 - 36




417 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Donnelly, B. Broderick & B. Misstear


Values adopted for background pollutant concentrations can have a significant effect on the accuracy of the final results in air quality modelling studies. In the absence of a reliable method of combining modelled and background concentrations it has been common practice to sum the percentiles or annual means of each contribution to obtain a value for comparison with limit values. This is often not appropriate as in many cases the meteorological conditions producing high concentrations from the source do not correspond to those resulting in high background concentrations. The validity of a number of equations derived in the UK to add background NO2 and PM10 concentrations to modelled stack contributions has been examined for Irish conditions. The equations allow a total percentile concentration to be predicted at a given receptor based on an annual mean background concentration and hourly modelled concentrations. A theoretical point source was modelled using the point source Gaussian plume equation and corresponding meteorological data, and the addition equations applied using monitored background NO2 and PM10 data. The equations were also tested for a line source, modelled using the General Finite Line Source Model (GFLSM). Baseline values were calculated by addition of the relevant hourly or daily background concentration to the modelled concentrations to produce a full year of total hourly or daily concentrations. Percentiles and annual mean values, and corresponding 95% confidence limits were calculated directly from this data set. Percentile concentrations predicted by each of the equations were compared to the baseline www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line) WIT Transactions on Ecology and the


background concentrations, NOx, NO2, PM10, modelled concentrations, limit values, percentiles