Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Use of Data in Understanding the Diurnal Pattern of Urban Air Pollution
Originator Keith Boucher
Department Department of Geography, Loughborough University, LE11 3TU
Tel. Tel +44 (0)1509 222745
Fax. Fax +44 (0)1509 223930

The aim of the data analysis session is to reinforce understanding of the meteorological components that can affect the diurnal cycle of air pollution within a large city. Students will have been introduced to the diurnal cycles of temperature, humidity, solar radiation, lapse rates, wind speed and direction, turbulence and Pasquill stability categories under set synoptic conditions such as high pressure. The diurnal pattern and chemistry of the main pollutants under neutral stability conditions will have also been explained. The purpose of the exercise is to link two main fields of data and stimulate discussion on interactions.

Students are divided into groups and provided with sets of meteorological and air pollution data for a given period. The period is selected by the tutor to show two or three distinct diurnal patterns. Students are given a data evaluation sheet (DES) to assess which days may be suitable for further analysis in order of preference. Student selection of data is part of the task. After initial inspection, general discussion takes place on the importance of various criteria and a group decision made which is recorded on the DES. Questions are raised about the nature of the data set and additional information provided on request - location of the city, day of the week, airflow patterns etc.

Students are encouraged to use Excel to plot results.

Data source: Pollution Monitoring Unit, Osaka, Japan.

Relevant references:

Air Quality.


Air pollution
Data evaluation sheet (DES)
Diurnal cycle
Group work

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Page created 20 March 1997
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