Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 2

Large-Scale Monitoring Of Air Pollution In Remote And Ecologically Important Areas

Andrzej Bytnerowicz, Witold Frączek

Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 2, pp. 25-38 | Full text

New advances in air quality monitoring techniques, such as passive samplers for nitrogenous (N) or sulphurous (S) pollutantsand ozone (O3), have allowed for an improved understanding of concentrations of these pollutants in remote areas.Mountains create special problems with regard to the feasibility of establishing and maintaining air pollution monitoringnetworks, due to their complex topography and difficult access. Therefore, careful design of monitoring networks, selectionof monitoring equipment, and a reliable workforce are essential for successful mountain monitoring campaigns. TheUSDA Forest Service team, in collaboration with various partners in Europe and North America, has conducted numerousmonitoring campaigns in order to determine concentrations of O3, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ammonia (NH3), nitric acidvapor (HNO3), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) in remote areas. These results, aided by geostatistical methodologies, haveresulted in the creation of maps that are essential for a better understanding of the distribution of various air pollutantsin the Carpathian Mountains (specifically, the Tatras, Retezat, and Bucegi ranges) in Europe; the Sierra Nevada (includingSequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks), the San Bernardino Mountains, the White Mountains, and JoshuaTree National Park in California; the Columbia Rivers Basin in Oregon; and the Athabasca Oil Sands Region in northernAlberta, Canada. Information on the concentrations and distribution of air pollutants which have been measured inthose areas provides an understanding of their potential risks to human health, ecosystem health and sustainability, andecosystem services.

Keywords: monitoring, air pollution, forests, remote areas, mountains, human health, ecosystems, Europe, North America

Andrzej Bytnerowicz, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station Riverside, CA 92507, USA
Witold Frączek, Environmental Systems Research Institute Redlands, CA 92373, USA