Inderscience Publishers

Assessment of particulates in the urban atmosphere of Sao Carlos, Brazil

A survey on the concentration of particulate matter in the urban atmosphere was carried out in the city of Sao Carlos, Brazil. Five sites were selected for data collection one in the city centre (high concentration of people and automotive vehicles), three in industrial areas, and one at the interface with the countryside. The particle size distribution and mass concentration, temperature, humidity and wind velocity were measured at each site. In the city centre, the concentration of the particles smaller than 10 µm (PM10) was also measured. The particle size distribution was obtained with a laser scattering particle counter. The total and PM10 concentrations were obtained with high volume samplers. The tests were performed for 75 consecutive weeks. The results show that the particle concentration is sensitive to seasonal conditions. During autumn and winter, which is the drier and windy period of the year, larger particles were dispersed, leading to higher concentrations, both total and PM10. The relative humidity varied with the schedule of sampling and with the season the autumn and winter weeks were much drier than the other periods. Higher rainfall levels coincided with lower particle concentrations. All these results are statistically significant.

Keywords: airborne particulates, Brazil, PM10, urban atmosphere

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