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Air Quality in Delhi During Commonwealth Games

Abstract

Air quality during the Commonwealth Games (CWG, held in Delhi in October 2010) is analyzed using a new air quality forecasting system established for the games. The CWG stimulated enhanced efforts to monitor and model air quality in the region. The air quality of Delhi during the CWG had high levels of particles with mean values of PM2.5 and PM10 at the venues of 111 and 238 μg m−3, respectively. Black carbon (BC) accounted for ∼ 10 % of the PM2.5 mass. It is shown that BC, PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations are well predicted, but with positive biases of ∼ 25 %. The di- urnal variations are also well captured, with both the obser- vations and the modeled values showing nighttime maxima and daytime minima. A new emissions inventory, developed as part of this air quality forecasting initiative, is evaluated by comparing the observed and predicted species-species corre- lations (i.e., BC : CO; BC : PM2.5; PM2.5 : PM10). Assuming that the observations at these sites are representative and that all the model errors are associated with the emissions, then the modeled concentrations and slopes can be made consis- tent by scaling the emissions by 0.6 for NOx, 2 for CO, and 0.7 for BC, PM2.5, and PM10. The emission estimates for par- ticles are remarkably good considering the uncertainty in the estimates due to the diverse spread of activities and technolo- gies that take place in Delhi and the rapid rates of change.
The contribution of various emission sectors including transportation, power, domestic and industry to surface con- centrations are also estimated. Transport, domestic and in- dustrial sectors all make significant contributions to PM lev- els in Delhi, and the sectoral contributions vary spatially within the city. Ozone levels in Delhi are elevated, with
hourly values sometimes exceeding 100 ppb. The continued growth of the transport sector is expected to make ozone pollution a more pressing air pollution problem in Delhi. The sector analysis provides useful inputs into the design of strategies to reduce air pollution levels in Delhi. The con- tribution for sources outside of Delhi on Delhi air quality range from ∼25% for BC and PM to ∼60% for day time ozone. The significant contributions from non-Delhi sources indicates that in Delhi (as has been show elsewhere) these strategies will also need a more regional perspective.

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