Air pollution is a major concern due to the environmental and health effects that it can cause. Therefore, it is important that air pollution in urban areas is fully understood and that the emissions of pollutants is quantified. At the University of York, a SIFT-MS instrument has been placed inside a mobile laboratory in order to measure the emission of atmospheric gases that contribute to air pollution. We chose to take measurements from a route around York and have discovered that York is a very complex city dominated by a number of different emissions sources. These include emissions from vehicles, industrial areas, petrol stations, garages, nail salons, hairdressers and drycleaners and we are taking measurements of a variety of species. The aim of this work is to see if it is possible to separate these sources apart and if they contribute equally or if the pollution in York is totally dominated by vehicle emissions, as is common in many urban areas.
Another focus of this work is vehicle emissions as they can significantly contribute to poor air quality. The SIFT-MS instrument will be used to quantify vehicle emission factors of unregulated pollutants such as aldehydes, ammonia, nitrous acid and various hydrocarbons. This will be done by plume chasing vehicle for a period of time and also sampling from vehicle exhausts from the side of the road.
Rebecca Wagner is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Marvin Shaw in the Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory at the University of York, United Kingdom.