Status of atmospheric air pollution in Ukraine prior to the full-scale russian invasion. Part 1: ground-level content of pollutants
The paper is dedicated to examination of atmospheric air pollution in Ukraine that is aimed at establishing basic air quality conditions prior to the full-scale Russian invasion. Analyses cover five air pollutants (dust, sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and formaldehyde (CH2O)) across 126 monitoring stations in 39 cities. It was found that the most dangerous excess of air pollution levels in cities was associated with dust, NO2, and CO. At the same time, SO2 content usually did not reach dangerous levels. The highest frequency of exceeding the threshold one-time levels was common for the cities with well-developed industrial facilities. Dangerous air pollution was observed in 15–60% of cases, depending on a pollutant. Dust and NO2 concentrations of the most polluted cities were 10 times higher than their concentrations in smaller cities having no significant industrial emissions. The difference in average CO, SO2, and CH2O concentrations among monitoring stations constituted 3-5 times. We studied the patterns of pollutants' seasonal variability recorded at the monitoring stations. Normally, no significant seasonality except for CH2O and dust was observed. The interannual variability of pollutants, emissions, and their trends were analyzed for the period since 2008. We identified a certain discrepancy in trends between pollutants’ concentrations and emission data over the last years. Pollutant content often continued to grow concurrently with emission reductions. The impact of atmospheric phenomena and wind parameters was studied mainly in terms of its role in formation of high and low atmospheric pollution levels. The analysis indicated a crucial role of local conditions in the formation of an atmospheric pollution field next to monitoring stations. Varying atmospheric pollution values across different monitoring stations within a specific city can be different even under the influence of the same atmospheric phenomena. The wind impact also formed different patterns of atmospheric pollution within same city. 12% to 22% of all monitoring stations (depending on a pollutant) indicated a prevailing impact of a single emission source (or a combined impact of a group of sources). At the same time, air pollution at other monitoring stations was highly variable, with elevated pollution levels being transported from numerous directions. The analysis of the air pollution-affected condition presented in the paper could be used as a basis for comparing ground-level pollution and assessing the warfare consequences in Ukraine. The research emphasizes the importance of updating the information about ground-based monitoring stations.
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