PM or particulate matter is a type of contaminant in the atmosphere, considered very harmful for health, ecosystems, climate change, conservation of materials and visibility. Chemist Ms Ainhoa Inza studied the presence of this particulate matter in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (CAV-EAE); concretely, the type known as PM10, made up of particles of less than ten micras in diameter. Amongst other things, the researcher compared the concentration of this kind of atmospheric contamination in various areas and periods of the year in the Basque Country and subsequently characterised the main sources of emission of PM10, based on chemical analyses. Her PhD thesis is entitled Study of temporal series and chemical composition of atmospheric particulate matter in different areas of the Basque Country.
To carry out this work, Ms Inza gathered and evaluated series of data on the daily concentration of PM10, apart from other contaminant gaseous species (CO, NOx, SO2 and O3) at various locations within the CAV-EAE. Concretely, she used data registered between 2004 and 2007 from twelve stations belonging to the Air Quality Control and Monitoring Network of the Basque Government's Department of the Environment, Territorial Planning, Agriculture and Fisheries. These stations are representative of four types of Basque environments: regional background, rural-suburban, urban background and urban.
Less than the Iberian Peninsula average
In her thesis Ms Inza concluded that the levels of PM10 increase progressively from the regional background stations to the urban ones, principally due to emissions from road traffic. The difference in PM10 concentrations from one place to another is, moreover, greater in winter than in summer; winter atmospheric stagnation favouring the accumulation of contamination where it is emitted. In summer, on the other hand, the layer of atmospheric mixture (the lower layer of the atmosphere and lin
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