Air quality science  

 

Otago Regional Council measures particulate matter (PM10) concentrations in the air. PM10 are solid or liquid particles that are smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter. They can be easily inhaled and as such, can contribute to and cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The most vulnerable people are young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing conditions. 

Otago Regional Council measures particulate matter concentrations in the airImage source: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

The weather has an influence on the dispersion of particles. Many of Otago’s high pollution events occur during cold and calm winter days and nights. Temperature inversions form when warm air traps cold air at ground level, and vertical mixing between the layers is inhibited. When pollution is emitted into the ground level layer, it is unable to disperse. 

 

During calm winter nights, pollution can be trapped in a layer of low, cold air due to the combined effects of high emissions and New Zealand's weather and landscape.
Air pollution, weather, and landscape.
During calm winter nights, pollution can be trapped in a layer of low, cold air due to the combine effects of high emissions and New Zealand's weather and landscape. Image source:
LAWA

 

Air quality reports and publications

Current and historic air quality reports, state of the environment reports, and various research and technical air quality reports are available on our Air reports and publications page.

 

 

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