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Sci Total Environ. 2011 May 15;409(12):2419-29. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

STEMS-Air: a simple GIS-based air pollution dispersion model for city-wide exposure assessment.

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MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, UK.


Current methods of air pollution modelling do not readily meet the needs of air pollution mapping for short-term (i.e. daily) exposure studies. The main limiting factor is that for those few models that couple with a GIS there are insufficient tools for directly mapping air pollution both at high spatial resolution and over large areas (e.g. city wide). A simple GIS-based air pollution model (STEMS-Air) has been developed for PM(10) to meet these needs with the option to choose different exposure averaging periods (e.g. daily and annual). STEMS-Air uses the grid-based FOCALSUM function in ArcGIS in conjunction with a fine grid of emission sources and basic information on meteorology to implement a simple Gaussian plume model of air pollution dispersion. STEMS-Air was developed and validated in London, UK, using data on concentrations of PM(10) from routinely available monitoring data. Results from the validation study show that STEMS-Air performs well in predicting both daily (at four sites) and annual (at 30 sites) concentrations of PM(10). For daily modelling, STEMS-Air achieved r(2) values in the range 0.19-0.43 (p<0.001) based solely on traffic-related emissions and r(2) values in the range 0.41-0.63 (p<0.001) when adding information on 'background' levels of PM(10). For annual modelling of PM(10), the model returned r(2) in the range 0.67-0.77 (P<0.001) when compared with monitored concentrations. The model can thus be used for rapid production of daily or annual city-wide air pollution maps either as a screening process in urban air quality planning and management, or as the basis for health risk assessment and epidemiological studies.

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