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The Finnish Meteorological Institute studies air quality in Santiago de Chile

This research, focusing on atmospheric fine particles, applies new technology used in Finland, which has been installed at the measurement stations to conduct real-time monitoring of the amounts and chemical composition of particles in the air. The findings will be used for planning measures to improve air quality in Santiago de Chile, as the aim of the measurements is to determine the impacts of various emission sources on fine particle concentrations. Locally, fine particles have adverse effects on health. On the other hand, large cities are globally important sources of fine particles and have an impact on climate change.

Transport the biggest emission source in Santiago de Chile

Measurements are conducted simultaneously at a measurement station situated on the university campus in Santiago de Chile and in Peaflor, located about 35 kilometres from Santiago. The Finnish Meteorological Institute's objective is to determine the sources of Santiago's occasionally high concentrations of fine particles. Some of the instruments at the stations have been brought from Finland because their innovative technology makes it possible to determine the chemical fingerprints of emission sources. When this information is combined, for instance, with meteorological observations and the daily rhythm of emissions, researchers can estimate the probable pollution source.

The first measurement results reveal that transport is the biggest source of fine particles in Santiago. Cars in Santiago are relatively new, but the number of cars increases by an average of 6.5% per year. In Peaflor, measurements are performed in a low-rise housing area where concentrations of fine particles have been found to rise very high especially at night because of wood-burning stoves. Later this year, measurements will also be carried out in Concepcin, where industry, in particular, is thought to emit pollutants into the environment.


Contact: Risto Hillamo
Finnish Meteorological Institute

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