Elemental analysis results for air particulate matter collected in Auckland 2006-2015. A summary report.

Nick Talbot
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:

Research has indicated that health impacts from airborne particles can disproportionately impact upon urban populations due to population density and the close proximity to emission sources (Von Klot et al. 2005, Pope and Dockery, 2006). In view of these concerns, Auckland Council, and its predecessor Auckland Regional Council, invested in an extensive monitoring programme focused on analysing the elemental composition of atmospheric pollutants over Auckland, as part of a comprehensive air quality monitoring programme, covering particulate matter and gases. The collection of data, which began in December 2005, has involved the continuous sampling and analysis of more than 12,000 filters and covered five different sites, each chosen to represent different sources of pollutants around Auckland.

The methodology from this monitoring campaign involved the placement and collection of filters at five different locations around Auckland including Takapuna (North Shore), Queen Street (City Centre), Khyber Pass (intersection), Penrose (industrial), and Henderson (west Auckland). These filters were then analysed for elemental composition mass by GNS Science (GNS) using peer reviewed Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) techniques. Since the beginning of the monitoring campaign, GNS Science has regularly reported full elemental composition, source apportionment reports (2007, 2009, 2011) and most recently, summary reports that provide long-term averages (2013 and 2016). The findings from the elemental analysis carried out by GNS Science have also led to subsequent field studies which have focused on the emissions of pollutants of particular concern. The dataset that the project has generated is unique in New Zealand, due to its continuous operation.

This report provides a summary of the key findings reported by GNS Science, most notably from the trends report covering the period 2006-2013 (Davy et al. 2017). For each of the five locations, the main pollutants and attributed chemical elements are given in the context of the locality and their surroundings. The results reveal several elements observed at all locations, most likely indicating a regional pollution plume (sea salt, secondary sulphate, black carbon (BC)). Moreover, the proximity to major emission sources has also been shown to be important (road traffic, road dust, home heating). Quantifying the contribution from varying sources is an invaluable tool for accurate and appropriate policy development and assessment.

Auckland Council technical report TR2017/001A

See also:

Source apportionment and trend analysis of air particulate matter in the Auckland region

Auckland Council technical report TR2017/001

GNS Science Consultancy Report 2014/194, July 2017


Last updated: 2018-07-05