Long term measurements of PM2.5 concentrations in Lubbock, Texas

Mary c Kelley, M M Brown, C B Fedler, Karin Ardon Dryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aerosol particles such as PM2.5 (particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 µm) are important, yet a variable component of our atmosphere; their concentration defines air quality levels and have a profound effect on human health. PM2.5 concentrations are subject to temporal and spatial conditions and may vary within an hour or a day, therefore it is important to monitor their concentration. In this project, we examine changes of PM2.5 in Lubbock, Texas from 2001 to 2018. Hourly PM2.5 measurements were taken from the local Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) station. Hourly PM2.5 concentrations were analyzed for diurnal, monthly, seasonal and yearly changes. Comparisons were made between the PM2.5 concentrations and meteorological parameters (such as temperature, wind direction or speed, visibility and more) measured by the local National Weather Service station located at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. In addition, we examine the effect of El Niño and La Niña on the PM2.5 concentration. Majority of daily average PM2.5 values were below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) daily threshold of 35 μg m-3. However, many days had high hourly PM2.5 concentrations, mainly due to dust-storm events. No correlations were found between the PM2.5 concentrations and different meteorological parameters. Diurnal distributions based on the hourly measurements were bimodal, with morning and late-evening peaks. While April and June had the highest monthly PM2.5 average. Comparisons of PM2.5 concentrations during El Niño and La Niña revealed that the highest concentrations occurred during La Niña, specifically a weak La Niña.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
StatePublished - 2020

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