Diagnosis of air quality through observation and modeling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as pollution tracers

Wen Tzu Liu, Hsin Cheng Hsieh, Sheng Po Chen, Julius S. Chang, Neng Huei Lin, Chih Chung Chang, Jia Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study used selected ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as pollution tracers to study the effects of meteorology on air quality. A remote coastal site was chosen as a receptor to monitor pollutants transported upwind from urban traffic and industrial sources. Large concentration variability in VOC concentrations was observed at the coastal site due to rapid changes in meteorology, which caused periodic land-sea exchange of air masses. To assure the quality of the on-line measurements, uniform concentrations of chlorofluorocarbon-113 (CFC-113) were exploited as an internal check of the instrument's stability and the resulting data quality.A VOC speciated air quality model was employed to simulate both temporal and spatial distributions of VOC plumes. The model successfully captured the general features of the variations of toluene as a pollution tracer, which suggests that emissions and meteorology were reasonably well simulated in the model. Through validation by observation, the model can display both the temporal and spatial distribution of air pollutants in a dynamic manner. Thus, a more insightful understanding of how local air quality is affected by meteorology can be obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • CFC
  • VOC


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