Space–time modelling of air quality for environmental-risk maps: A case study in South Portugal

13 November 2019

Soares, A., Pereira, M.J.

Computers & Geosciences, 2007, 33, 1327-1336

Since the 1960s, there has been a strong industrial development in the Sines area, on the southern Atlantic coast of Portugal, including the construction of an important industrial harbour and of, mainly, petrochemical and energy-related industries. These industries are, nowadays, responsible for substantial emissions of SO2, NOx, particles, VOCs and part of the ozone polluting the atmosphere. The major industries are spatially concentrated in a restricted area, very close to populated areas and natural resources such as those protected by the European Natura 2000 network. Air quality parameters are measured at the emissions’ sources and at a few monitoring stations. Although air quality parameters are measured on an hourly basis, the lack of representativeness in space of these non-homogeneous phenomena makes even their representativeness in time questionable. Hence, in this study, the regional spatial dispersion of contaminants is also evaluated, using diffusive-sampler (Radiello Passive Sampler) campaigns during given periods. Diffusive samplers cover the entire space extensively, but just for a limited period of time.

In the first step of this study, a space–time model of pollutants was built, based on a stochastic simulation—direct sequential simulation—with local spatial trend. The spatial dispersion of the contaminants for a given period of time—corresponding to the exposure time of the diffusive samplers—was computed by ordinary kriging. Direct sequential simulation was applied to produce equiprobable spatial maps for each day of that period, using the kriged map as a spatial trend and the daily measurements of pollutants from the monitoring stations as hard data.

In the second step, the following environmental risk and costs maps were computed from the set of simulated realizations of pollutants: (i) maps of the contribution of each emission to the pollutant concentration at any spatial location; (ii) costs of badly located monitoring stations.