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Near-Field Variability of Residential Woodsmoke Concentrations

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  • Near-Field Variability of Residential Woodsmoke Concentrations
    Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2014, 4, 622-635
    Published Online October 2014 in SciRes.

    How to cite this paper: Thatcher, T.L., Kirchstetter, T.W., Tan, S.H., Malejan, C.J. and Ward, C.E. (2014) Near-Field Variability of Residential Woodsmoke Concentrations. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 4, 622-635.

    Near-Field Variability of Residential Woodsmoke Concentrations
    Tracy L. Thatcher1*, Thomas W. Kirchstetter2, Stella H. Tan1,
    Christopher J. Malejan1, Courtney E. Ward1
    1Environmental Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, USA
    2Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, USA
    Email: [See link]
    Received 12 July 2014; revised 15 August 2014; accepted 10 September 2014
    Copyright ? 2014 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
    This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).

    In many regions, wood combustion is a significant source of wintertime aerosols. However, since wood combustion sources are interspersed within neighborhoods, near-field concentration variability has the potential to cause large variations in the exposure levels between residents over a relatively small area. This field study compared filter samples and aethalometer measurements of black carbon concentration within a 1 km2 study region with no significant aerosol sources except wood combustion. Sampling occurred on 15 nights over two winter seasons in a small California coastal town. Even over the small distances in the study area, large spatial and temporal variations were observed. Measured black carbon concentrations varied by as much as a factor of 10 over a 12-hour night-time period. The spatial variability was non-random, with the highest location in the study area experiencing 4 times the average concentration within the neighborhood, when averaged over all sample periods. The results of this study indicate that within neighborhoods with residential wood combustion sources using an average concentration for a region to predict exposure may significantly undervalue the exposure of some residents and overvalue the exposure for others.


    4. Conclusions

    This means that even during periods of relatively good air quality, individuals located near a local source of wood smoke can receive substantial exposures
    and that average exposures will not be a sufficient indicator of exposures to all individuals within a neighborhood. For sensitive individuals this could lead to health effects even when air quality measurements indicate no risk.

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