oa Clean Air Journal = Tydskrif vir Skoon Lug - Comparisons of meso-scale air pollution dispersion modelling of SO, NO and O using regional-scale monitoring results

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1017-1703



Results of a regional-scale monitoring campaign were compared with two meso-scale to sub-continental modelling studies, for SO and NO and O respectively (Fourie, 2006, Zunckel , 2006, van Tienhoven , 2006, Van Tienhoven and Zunckel, 2004). However, a direct validation of the monitored results with modelled results could not be carried out, as available modelling studies dealt with different periods from the monitoring study.

For this study, three monitoring sites were selected for comparison with modelling results. These sites were strategically selected to be representative of the entire region. Site Elandsfontein in the centre of the industrial Highveld, site Amersfoort, downwind from the central pollution source region and site Louis Trichardt, a remote site. Sulphur, nitrogen and ozone species comparisons were considered in turn. The comparisons were carried out for equivalent annual (and seasonal) cycles. The comparisons produced mixed results. For sulphur and nitrogen species in most cases, depending on site and season, modelling results ranged between significant underestimates to overestimates. Ozone modelling almost always overestimated the concentrations compared to the measured results.
Despite several limiting factors, constraining the reliability of the comparisons between the modelled and measured results, they were important as the distribution of the gases showed patterns that imply understanding of the source and fate of these pollutants. The uncertainty in the magnitude of the model inaccuracies as well as margin of error of the measured data remained. Thus a modelling validation is recommended using the concurrent period with fewer uncertainties.

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