Exploring the modeling of spatiotemporal variations in ambient air pollution within the land use regression framework: Estimation of PM10 concentrations on a daily basis

M.S. Alam, Aonghus McNabola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Estimation of daily average exposure to PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <10 μm) using the available fixed-site monitoring stations (FSMs) in a city poses a great challenge. This is because typically FSMs are limited in number when considering the spatial representativeness of their measurements and also because statistical models of citywide exposure have yet to be explored in this context. This paper deals with the later aspect of this challenge and extends the widely used land use regression (LUR) approach to deal with temporal changes in air pollution and the influence of transboundary air pollution on short-term variations in PM10. Using the concept of multiple linear regression (MLR) modeling, the average daily concentrations of PM10 in two European cities, Vienna and Dublin, were modeled. Models were initially developed using the standard MLR approach in Vienna using the most recently available data. Efforts were subsequently made to (i) assess the stability of model predictions over time; (ii) explores the applicability of nonparametric regression (NPR) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) to deal with the nonlinearity of input variables. The predictive performance of the MLR models of the both cities was demonstrated to be stable over time and to produce similar results. However, NPR and ANN were found to have more improvement in the predictive performance in both cities. Using ANN produced the highest result, with daily PM10 exposure predicted at R2 = 66% for Vienna and 51% for Dublin. In addition, two new predictor variables were also assessed for the Dublin model. The variables representing transboundary air pollution and peak traffic count were found to account for 6.5% and 12.7% of the variation in average daily PM10 concentration. The variable representing transboundary air pollution that was derived from air mass history (from back-trajectory analysis) and population density has demonstrated a positive impact on model performance.

Implications: The implications of this research would suggest that it is possible to produce a model of ambient air quality on a citywide scale using the readily available data. Most European cities typically have a limited FSM network with average daily concentrations of air pollutants as well as available meteorological, traffic, and land-use data. This research highlights that using these data in combination with advanced statistical techniques such as NPR or ANNs will produce reasonably accurate predictions of ambient air quality across a city, including temporal variations. Therefore, this approach reduces the need for additional measurement data to supplement existing historical records and enables a lower-cost method of air pollution model development for practitioners and policy makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 628-640
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

This research was part funded by the European Union 7th Framework Programme under the Peacox Project.


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