[ NATO-PCO Home Page ] [ Table of Contents of NEWSLETTER # 58 ]

........ published in NEWSLETTER # 58

by Professor F. De Santis, and Professor I. Allegrini, CNR, Rome (Italy)

This book (NATO ASI SERIES 2-8) presents the proceedings of a NATO Advanced Research Workshop which was also financially supported by the National Research Council of Italy. The Workshop was held in October 1994 in Erice, Italy. Over 40 researchers from a wide variety of fields attended the Workshop, which highlighted the ongoing research on various phenomena related to urban air pollution.

The presence of high levels of atmospheric pollutants in the air of several urban centres of developed and developing countries causes great concern among authorities and public opinion. Some 20 % of the European population live in cities of more than 500,000 inhabitants and about 40 % in cities of more than 50,000. Since overstepping the Air Quality Guidelines has been observed to occur worldwide, a great effort has been addressed to the control of primary pollutants, but many problems related to secondary pollutants such as nitrogen containing species (nitrogen oxides, nitric and nitrous acid, nitrates) and photochemical oxidants (ozone, PAN and others) are far from being solved. Atmospheric pollution is very much dependent on the type of emissions which are different according to the economic development of the urban centre under consideration. Drastic improvement in energy efficiency and use of less polluting energy systems are needed to reduce the impact of pollutant emission while allowing continued economic growth. It is evident that the implementation of the best technologies in Eastern Europe requires an intense exchange of know-how, resources and capital investment between Western and Eastern Europe. The workshop identified a number of items which are still a matter of speculation and which are relevant keys in understanding physico-chemical processes. For instance, high nitrous acid concentration has been detected in several cities, but the mechanism for its formation and for the initiation of photochemical reactions to produce photooxidants is still not completely clear. The Chemical Mass Balance technique may give important information on the relative contribution to individual volatile organic components in the formation of ozone and other photo-oxidants. This includes aromatic hydrocarbons for which the chemical mechanisms in ozone formation are still under investigation. In the field of meteorology, a clear gap was identified in the evaluation of the dynamics of the boundary layer which is known to play the most relevant role in the definition of pollution properties. Chemistry to describe complex processes is very much related to photochemistry and the development of comprehensive models for the description of chemical transformation was one of the key issues. However, attention was drawn to applying models in locations, such as the Mediterranean area, characterised by complex meteorological processes at mesoscale level.

These were just some of the issues which were discussed extensively during the Workshop. The objectives were to review the scientific basis of urban pollution, to exchange information among participants and to indicate the way towards appropriate collaborative and integrated research programmes, a prerequisite for the achievement of any further progress.
Reference books: 2-8, D1, D12, G31, G36

[ NATO-PCO Home Page ]