Application and evaluation of AERMOD on the assessment of particulate matter pollution caused by industrial activities in the Greater Thessaloniki area.
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Industrial activities are sources of high emission rates of particulate matter. The existence of many such industrial plants close to a densely populated area can have a severe effect on human health. The effects can be even worse when these emissions are added to existing background concentration levels. This study deals with the assessment of the primary particulate matter pollution caused by industrial activities close to the city of Thessaloniki in Greece. An atmospheric dispersion and regulatory model was employed, i.e. AERMOD from the US Environmental Pollution Agency. A new PM10 emission sources inventory was prepared for the main industrial plants of the area and the annual and monthly average concentrations from 2003 to 2007 were calculated. The results from AERMOD were validated against data from available monitoring stations and showed reasonably good agreement. It was estimated that industry contributes approximately 30% of primary PM10 on the western suburbs of the city and about 7% in the city centre. The effect of the wind direction was also studied and it was illustrated that the frequent southwest winds present higher concentration levels than the strong north ones.