Faculté de l'environnement naturel, architectural et construit ENAC, Section des sciences et ingénierie de l'environnement, Institut des sciences et technologies de l'environnement ISTE (Laboratoire de pollution atmosphérique et du sol LPAS)

Understanding the origins and fate of air pollution in Bogota, Colombia

Zarate, Erika ; Clappier, Alain (Dir.)

Thèse sciences Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL : 2007 ; no 3768.

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    Bogota has more than 8 million inhabitants and is the 5th biggest urban agglomeration in Latin America. It has more than one million vehicles and a large number of small industries. High levels of air pollutants are thus detected. The purpose of this work consists in applying air quality modelling tools to the region of Bogota, aiming to acquire a deeper understanding of the factors that originate air pollution in the city, and of the way pollutants are dispersed and chemically transported. Furthermore, the knowledge gained is used to propose and evaluate air pollution abatement strategies. In the first part of this thesis, two versions of the traffic emission inventory are generated, one using standard CORINAIR traffic emission factors and the other using bulk real-world traffic emission factors. Both emission inventories are compared and evaluated with the help of numerical simulations. The emission inventory calculated using bulk real-world traffic emission factors generates simulated concentrations closer to the observed values. Thus, an innovative technique consisting in the combination of measurements and modelling to estimate and evaluate traffic emissions is proposed in this part of the study. In the second part, mesoscale meteorological and air quality models are applied to the city. The wind pattern developed over the complex topography of the region and the development of the plume of pollutants are simulated with success. In the third part of this work, the air quality model is used to study the plume of pollution in terms of the governing chemical regimes and the individual and combined effects of the main sources of emission. Traffic is the major contributor to the plume of pollutants in Bogota. Three feasible emission scenarios which are addressed to the mitigation of emissions from heavy traffic are evaluated with the model. Whereas reductions are attained for primary pollutants and aerosols (whose simulation is presented in the forth part of this work), levels of Ozone increase with these scenarios. The air quality model indicates that strategies directed to mitigate air pollution might have contradictory effects depending on the pollutant to be tackled. Air quality modelling proved to be a very useful tool for evaluating emission scenarios in advance and prioritizing actions to mitigate pollution in Bogota.