Air pollution is a major concern due to the environmental and health effects that it can cause. Therefore, it is important that air pollution in urban areas is fully understood and that emissions of pollutants are quantified. At the University of York, a SIFT-MS instrument has been placed inside a mobile laboratory to measure the emission of atmospheric gases that contribute to air pollution. We chose to take measurements from a route around York and have discovered that air pollution in York is very complex, dominated by a number of different emissions sources. These include emissions from vehicles, industrial areas, petrol stations, garages, nail salons, hairdressers and drycleaners. We have collected measurements of a variety of chemical species during our research. The aim of this work is to see if it is possible to separate the emission sources from each other. We will then determine whether the emissions from different sources contribute equally to pollution in York or whether pollution is dominated by vehicle emissions, as is common in many urban areas.
Another focus of this work is vehicle emissions, as they can significantly contribute to poor air quality. The SIFT-MS instrument will be used to quantify vehicle emission factors of unregulated pollutants, such as aldehydes, ammonia, nitrous acid and various hydrocarbons. This will be done by plume chasing vehicles for a period of time and also sampling from vehicle exhausts at the side of the road.
Rebecca Wagner is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Marvin Shaw in the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory at the University of York, United Kingdom.