Assignment – Air quality 2020/21
Aim of the assignment:
The aim of the assignment is to analyse UK air quality data from two measurement sites. One
of the sites must be an urban site and one the nearest rural site to the urban site that you have
chosen. All sites that you chose must have recordings of NO2, PM10 and ozone (O3). You will
be required to discuss the reason for the differences between the sites and the reasons for the
measurements to vary across the year and from day to day and from hour to hour. To discuss
the results, you will need to locate the sites on a map so you know what is in the vicinity of
the sites that may influence the pollution.
There are 10 mini-assignments and you must write an answer to each and provide graphs of
the data you have chosen to compare. You may consult your lecture notes. Note that if you
have data but no discussion you will get a poor mark.
You can access the UK air quality data from the Automated Urban Network (AUN) sites
from the Website (see instructions below).
To access the data visit the DEFRA website: http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data/ 1. Make
sure you are in the Data Archive tab.
- Click on the link for Pre-Formatted files of automatic monitoring data (raw data).
- Now search by zone map to choose the sites you wish to look at. Click on the correct
region and click the button search region (e.g. Choose Yorkshire and Humberside to search
for Leeds). Please note for the questions, you can chose any sites, as long as one is urban and
one is rural.
- When you see your chosen site in the list click on View site networks and parameters.
Then under the Networks tab for the AURN site click on Preformatted Data Files.
- When you see the pre-formatted data files, you will see a number of CSV files (which
can be opened with ExcelTM) for different years and contaminents that you can download.
If you want to visit an air quality measurement site, then look at the ones in Leeds.
- Headingly Roadside air quality monitoring station – on the pavement outside the
gardens of the Original Oak Pub and opposite the Skyrack.
- The official AUN site for Leeds is across the road from the Dry Dock pub. Go down
to the slip road to the inner ring road after the multi-storey car park going into the city
centre. There is a green shed about 20 m from the slip road in the middle of a grassy
area. This is the urban air quality measurement station for Leeds. Whether this is
representative of the mean air quality in Leeds is something that you might reflect on.
The entire air quality monitoring network is based on relatively few monitoring stations. Both
the above two air quality sites can be accessed via the above web site. You should get used to
using these sites now and can work on these mini tasks from week 2 of the course. I will
cover all the relevant parts of the module to this coursework over the first five lectures or so
of the course.
The Air Quality Coursework
- Select one recent year for data to analyse. Plot the graphs v. time across the year for NO2.
Write down the annual mean NO2 concentrations at the Urban and Rural sites. Discuss the
difference in NO2 at the two sites, both in terms of the annual mean and the variation with
time during the year, and propose a reason for this with justification.
- How many NO2 exceedances of 24 hour average concentrations were there in one year at
both sites? Was the time of the year for these exceedances significant? Comment on why
one site has more exceedances than the other.
- Take one summer day (June – Aug.) for both sites and plot the variation of NO2 pollutant
over that day on an hourly average basis for both sites on the same graph. Is the time
variation at both sites similar? When did the peak NO2 occur at each site on the day you
chose. Does this time indicate a cause of the peak in pollution? Discuss the cause of the
time variation of NO2 at the two sites.
- -6 Repeat Qs 1-3 above for PM10 and PM2.5 if it is available.
- For the same day as in Q.2 in summer (June – Aug.) at both sites plot the variation of
ozone with time of day. What was the peak ozone concentration at each site?. Did this exceed
the air quality standard? What was the time of the day that this occurred? Please comment on
the reason for the differences in the time in Q 3 for peak NO2 at both sites.
- For the same year as in 7 plot the daily average ozone concentration variation over a
year at the urban and rural sites. Discuss the different in the two sites and the reasons for the
trends over the year. Are ozone exceedances a problem at either of the sites you have chosen?
- At the urban site you have chosen, take a day this year in the period March 23 – April
24th 2020 and plot the 24 hour variation in NO2 and PM10. This must be a weekday Tue,
Wed or Thursday. Then take the equivalent day in 2019 and produce the same plots –
produce two comparative graphs for each pollutant. Discuss the reason for the differences
and what are the implications for sources of air pollution.
- Repeat the data in 9 for the daily average emissions over that time interval and discuss
the reason for the differences.
Please note that you have choice of measurement sites and days of the year. Please do not
work with any other student as it will be obvious if two students have the same sites and
same days. The same sites I can allow but not the same days as well as the same sites, as this
will be evidence of joint working. Remember that you need to show where the sites are and
what is in the locality and refer to this in you discussion of the data. Including a map with the
sites marked would be useful.