A novel application of back trajectory modelling to characterise public exposure to PM10 from a typical UK major open uncontrolled fire

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Uncontrolled open fires are of increasing concern for the significant increase in air pollution generated near to human populations. In the UK, the multi-agency Air Quality Cell (AQC) oversees public health advice during these events. This can include directed monitoring of ground level plume species concentrations using mobile teams during the incident’s response phase. Results are limited by practical concerns: monitoring staff cannot be exposed to hazardous concentrations and so are located tangential to the main plume, and against the spread of the plume, any fixed monitoring is inherently of limited spatial relevance. Despite this action, it is without the role of an AQC to undertake a subsequent quantification of the scale of exposure and population vulnerability profile meaning that the potential impact of these events is missed.

The aim of this study was to use existing AQC PM10 monitoring results to indicate the scale of population exposures, compare this to 24-hour exposure standards to determine the threat to public health whilst developing a vulnerability profile. It is a first step in quantifying the potential post-incident impact on clinical services.

Research Group keywords

  • Environmental Monitoring and Reconstruction

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