Urban Ecosystem Observatory Tower
Air Pollution in the City of Syracuse: Comparison of Urban and Residential Sites
Cooperators: SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Clarkson University, Cornell University, Syracuse University
The major objectives include: a) the characterization and comparison of air temperature and pollutant fluxes and concentrations in the downtown area (Headquarters of Syracuse Center of Excellence, CoE) and at an urban residential site in the Strathmore neighborhood in the City of Syracuse; b) the development of models that predict the influence of vegetative (trees, shrubs, lawns, etc.) and impervious land cover (roadways, parking lots, sidewalks and roofs) on the spatial pattern of temperature and air quality; c) predict spatial patterns of temperature and air pollutants under different atmospheric conditions; d) explore how changes in temperature affect human comfort; and e) evaluate carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes as affected by landscape features (buildings, roads, parks, etc.) and seasonal variation.
A pair of flux towers has been installed in and around the local neighborhood study areas. At the CoE Headquarters, there is a 46-m tower with complete meteorological instrumentation. Real time meteorological data are provided at 2, 34 and 43 m; air quality has been monitored at 34 and 43 m using: CO/CO2 (carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide) monitor, NO/NO2 (NOx) monitor, aerosol spectrometer (particle diameters of < 0.25 μm), O3 ozone (ozone) monitor and water-based condensation particle counter (ultrafine particles that are detrimental to human health). The tower is also equipped with two cameras and associated computer software that provide information on vehicular (cars, trucks, buses) traffic at the two major Interstate Highways (81 and 690) that are just to the east and north, respectively, of the CoE Headquarters. The residential neighborhood includes Upper Onondaga Park where a 45-m tower with complete real-time meteorological instrumentation at 2, 34 and 43 m is located. Air quality data have been collected at 43 m using the same instrumentation as at the downtown site (CoE).
To assess the role of land use on air quality, the land cover data obtained using LIDAR from the U.S. Forest Service will be combined with local digital elevation (DEM) data and estimated vehicular and point source emission maps for the neighborhoods based on EPA emission data. These estimates of cover, elevation and emissions will be regressed against temporal concentration, flux and meteorological measurements to determine relationships between land use, elevation, meteorology, and local air pollution measurements.
Currently a major effort is being directed on the utilization of eddy covariance analysis in the examination of how CO2 fluxes vary between the residential and urban tower sites in the City of Syracuse. Carbon dioxide is one of the most important “green house” gases and quantifying sources and sinks of CO2 has important implications for understanding carbon dynamics and heat balances at local, regional and global scales. Our study is showing that within the City of Syracuse there are major differences in the relative importance of carbon sources and sinks between residential and urban sites. Evaluating these differences is needed for obtaining carbon and energy budgets of cities and determining how urban centers influence carbon and energy budgets over a broad range of spatial scales.
To read Dr. Shannon Buckley's PhD thesis, click here
Realtime information on the weather/climate conditions and carbon dioxide concentrations
Thirty minutes pictures of traffic on I-81 and I-690