Australia State of the Environment Report 2001 (Theme Report)
Lead Author: Dr Peter Manins, Environmental Consulting and Research Unit, CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Authors
Published by CSIRO on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001
ISBN 0 643 06746 9
This section reports on the environmental indicators listed below and defined in Manton and Jasper (1998).
|A 3.1||Concentration of carbon monoxide in urban areas|
|A 3.2||Concentration of ozone in urban areas|
|A 3.3||Concentration of lead in urban areas|
|A 3.4||Concentration of nitrogen dioxide in urban areas|
|A 3.5||Concentration of sulfur dioxide in urban areas|
|A 3.6||Concentration of particles in urban areas|
|A 3.7||Concentration of benzene in urban areas|
|A 3.8||Haze in urban areas|
|A 3.9||Pollen levels in urban areas|
|A 3.10||Toxic dosage of air pollutants|
|A 3.11||Meteorological conditions that exacerbate air quality problems|
|A 3.12||Emission of air pollutants in urban areas|
|A 3.13||Number of people covered by air quality monitoring|
|A 3.14 | a | b |||Quality of national monitoring system|
|A 3.15||Uniform government actions to monitor and reduce urban air pollutants|
|A 3.16||Compliance with government legislation and regulations|
|A 3.17||Motor vehicle use|
|A 3.18||Use of unleaded petrol|
|A 3.19||Hospital admissions for respiratory conditions|
Introduction [A Indicator 3.13 and Indicator 3.14]
More than 90% of the population of Australia is located along the coastal fringe. By international standards, the population density of our urban areas is low (<30 persons/ha). European cities have about 50 persons/ha whereas in Asian cities the range is from 70 persons/ha (Tokyo) to 300 persons/ha (Hong Kong). Nevertheless, 63.7% of the Australian population lives in one of the eight capital cities. In this Report, urban air quality is defined as the air quality in capital cities. For locations such as Launceston, see Regional air quality. Places on the edge of capitals may be dealt with in both sections.
The earth is closer to the sun during the Southern Hemisphere summer than during the Northern Hemisphere summer. This means that a location at 35S (the approximate location of Sydney) receives 10% more total direct and diffuse radiation on a clear summer day than a location at 35N (the approximate location of San Francisco). This higher radiation, in combination with conducive meteorology, and similar pollutant emissions make Australian urban areas more susceptible to photochemical smog.
Australia's urban areas are expanding such that the extremity of one urban area is combining with its neighbour to form an enlarged urban area known as a megalopolis, or a conurbation. The conurbation that stretches from Geelong, in the west, to (but not including) the Latrobe Valley in the east, is the Melbourne megalopolis, referred to here as the Port Phillip Region. The Greater Sydney conurbation that stretches from Port Kembla in the south to Newcastle in the north and including the Hunter Valley, is known as the Metropolitan Air Quality Study region, or the MAQS region. This is the name given to a major air quality study conducted in the region in the early 1990s (EPAN 1996).
State environmental authorities have collected data on air pollutants from air quality monitoring stations for over 30 years. The NEPM for Ambient Air Quality (NEPC 1998) incorporates a monitoring protocol which recommends that for urban regions with a population of 25 000 people or more, the number of performance monitoring stations is to be the next whole number (N) above the number calculated from the formula:
where P is the population of the region (in millions) (see Table 15).
|Adelaide||1 088 400||3|
|Perth||1 341 900||3|
|Brisbane||1 574 600||3|
|Melbourne||3 371 300||6|
|Sydney||3 986 700||7|
The NEPM performance monitoring sites comprise a sample of the total monitoring sites within an airshed (Figure 83; Table 16). The larger urban centres in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) started to monitor air quality data in the late 1970s. Other jurisdictions have long records for certain selected variables, mainly sulfur dioxide.
Figure 83: Australian urban and regional airsheds with ambient air quality monitoring.
See Table 16 for identification of sites.
|Map key||Location||TSPA||PM10B||PM2.5C||TEOM 10D||TEOM 2.5E||BSpF||NO2G||COH||O3I||SO2J|
ATSP, total suspended particles.
B PM10, particulate matter below 10m diameter,
CPM2.5, particulate matter below 2.5m diameter.
DTEOM 10, PM10 measured with a tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM).
E TEOM2.5, PM2.5 measured with a TEOM.
F Bsp, nephelometer measurements of back scattering light coefficient for particles.
G NO2 , nitrogen dioxide.
H CO, carbon monoxide.
I O3 , ozone.
J SO2, sulfur dioxide.
Source: Appendix 5 of NEPC (2000) as updated by environmental authorities.
The indicators used in this section are based on the recommendations for State of Environment Reporting by Manton and Jasper (1998) (see Indicators).