AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

Papers on new year fireworks and atmosphere

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on December 31, 2011

This is a list of papers on the effect of new year fireworks on atmosphere. Papers relating to other firework events than new year are also included. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.

Physical characterization of aerosol particles during the Chinese New Year’s firework events – Zhang et al. (2010) “Measurements for particles 10 nm to 10 μm were taken using a Wide-range Particle Spectrometer during the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations in 2009 in Shanghai, China. These celebrations provided an opportunity to study the number concentration and size distribution of particles in an especial atmospheric pollution situation due to firework displays. The firework activities had a clear contribution to the number concentration of small accumulation mode particles (100–500 nm) and PM1 mass concentration, with a maximum total number concentration of 3.8 × 104 cm−3. A clear shift of particles from nucleation and Aitken mode to small accumulation mode was observed at the peak of the CNY firework event, which can be explained by reduced atmospheric lifetimes of smaller particles via the concept of the coagulation sink. High particle density (2.7 g cm−3) was identified as being particularly characteristic of the firework aerosols. Recalculated fine particles PM1 exhibited on average above 150 μg m−3 for more than 12 hours, which was a health risk to susceptible individuals. Integral physical parameters of firework aerosols were calculated for understanding their physical properties and further model simulation.” Min Zhang, Xuemei Wang, Jianmin Chen, Tiantao Cheng, Tao Wang, Xin Yang, Youguo Gong, Fuhai Geng, Changhong Chen, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 44, Issue 39, December 2010, Pages 5191-5198, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.08.048. [Full text]

Effect of fireworks events on urban background trace metal aerosol concentrations: Is the cocktail worth the show? – Moreno et al. (2010) “We report on the effect of a major firework event on urban background atmospheric PM2.5 chemistry, using 24-h data collected over 8 weeks at two sites in Girona, Spain. The firework pollution episode (Sant Joan fiesta on 23rd June 2008) measured in city centre parkland increased local background PM2.5 concentrations as follows: Sr (x86), K (x26), Ba (x11), Co (x9), Pb (x7), Cu (x5), Zn (x4), Bi (x4), Mg (x4), Rb (x4), Sb (x3), P (x3), Ga (x2), Mn (x2), As (x2), Ti (x2) and SO42− (x2). Marked increases in these elements were also measured outside the park as the pollution cloud drifted over the city centre, and levels of some metals remained elevated above background for days after the event as a reservoir of metalliferous dust persisted within the urban area. Transient high-PM pollution episodes are a proven health hazard, made worse in the case of firework combustion because many of the elements released are both toxic and finely respirable, and because displays commonly take place in an already polluted urban atmosphere.” Teresa Moreno, Xavier Querol, Andrés Alastuey, Fulvio Amato, Jorge Pey, Marco Pandolfi, Nino Kuenzli, Laura Bouso, Marcela Rivera, Wes Gibbons, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volume 183, Issues 1-3, 15 November 2010, Pages 945-949, doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.07.082.

Effect of fireworks display on perchlorate in air aerosols during the Spring Festival – Shi et al. (2010) “Perchlorate is regarded as a new emerging persistent inorganic environmental contaminant. It can result in important neurodevelopmental deficits and goiter in infants and children because of its inhibition of iodine uptake into the thyroid tissue. Furthermore, its presence in the human body can cause improper regulation of metabolism for adults. It is often used as ingredient in the production of fireworks. So fireworks display may influence the perchlorate levels in atmospheric particulate matter (PM). In this paper perchlorate was determined in air aerosol samples (Inhalable particulate matter (PM10) and larger particulate matter (PM10-100)) collected from two locations (Lanzhou City and Yuzhong County) in Gansu province over a month period (February 1rst to March 4th) during the Spring Festival (February 18th) in 2007 in order to study the effect of fireworks display on perchlorate in air aerosol. The results showed that different concentrations of perchlorate were detected in almost all samples, ranging from <detection limit value to 39.16 ng m−3. And the detection frequencies of perchlorate were 91% (100%) and 50% (59%) for PM10-100 (PM10) in Lanzhou City and Yuzhong County, respectively. The highest concentrations were all found in the samples from two sites on New Year’s Eve, which was 39.16 ng m−3 (PM10-100) and 9.89 ng m−3 (PM10) for Lanzhou city, 3.43 ng m−3 (PM10-100) and 4.97 ng m−3 (PM10) for Yuzhong County, 6.8-26.2 times as the mean concentrations during the period of no or limited fireworks display. This indicated that the fireworks display during the Spring Festival can result in the levels of perchlorate increase.” Yali Shi, Ning Zhang, Jianmin Gao, Xin Li, Yaqi Cai, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 45, Issue 6, February 2011, Pages 1323-1327, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.11.056.

Heavy metals from pyrotechnics in New Years Eve snow – Steinhauser et al. (2008) “Pyrotechnics and fireworks cause pollution with barium aerosols, which is a result of the utilization of barium nitrate as a combined pyrotechnic oxidizer and coloring agent. In this study, the washing-out of barium-rich aerosols by snowflakes during the New Years Eve celebrations in an Austrian village in the Alps has been investigated. It could be shown that the fireworks caused an increase in the barium concentration in snow of up to a factor of 580 compared to the blank value. An increase of the concentrations of strontium and occasionally arsenic in snow was also observed. The geographic distribution of the pyrotechnic combustion products on this snowy evening was restricted to a relatively small area and even in a very local scale, the variations in the concentrations were remarkable. Post-firework snow from the summits of nearby located mountains was found to be as clean as pre-firework snow. However, snow that was visibly contaminated with smoke residues contained exorbitant concentrations of Ba, K, Sr, and Fe.” Georg Steinhauser, Johannes H. Sterba, Michaela Foster, Friedrich Grass, Max Bichler, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 42, Issue 37, December 2008, Pages 8616-8622, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.08.023.

The impact of fireworks on airborne particles – Vecchi et al. (2008) “Fireworks are one of the most unusual sources of pollution in atmosphere; although transient, these pollution episodes are responsible for high concentrations of particles (especially metals and organic compounds) and gases. In this paper, results of a study on chemical–physical properties of airborne particles (elements, ions, organic and elemental carbon and particles size distributions) collected during a fireworks episode in Milan (Italy) are reported. Elements typically emitted during pyrotechnic displays increased in 1 h as follows: Sr (120 times), Mg (22 times), Ba (12 times), K (11 times), and Cu (6 times). In our case study, Sr was recognised as the best fireworks tracer because its concentration was very high during the event and lower than, or comparable with, minimum detection limits during other time intervals, suggesting that it was mainly due to pyrotechnic displays. In addition, particles number concentrations increased significantly during the episode (up to 6.7 times in 1 h for the 0.5<d<1 μm size bin). Contributions (e.g. Cu, elemental carbon and nitrogen oxides) to air pollution due to the large traffic volume registered during the same night were also singled out. The original application of Positive Matrix Factorisation and Multiple Linear Regression allowed, as far as we know, here for the first time, the quantification of the fireworks contribution to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) and the resolution of their chemical profile. The contribution of fireworks to the local environment in terms of PM10 mass, elements and chemical components was assessed with 4-h time resolution. PM10 mass apportioned by fireworks was up to 33.6 μg m−3 (about 50% of the total PM10 mass). Major contributors were elemental and organic carbon (2.8 and 8.1 μg m−3, respectively) as well as metals like Mg, K, Sr, Ba, and Cu (0.4, 0.7, 0.07, 0.1, and 0.1 μg m−3, respectively).” Roberta Vecchi, Vera Bernardoni, Diana Cricchio, Alessandra D’Alessandro, Paola Fermo, Franco Lucarelli, Silvia Nava, Andrea Piazzalunga, Gianluigi Valli, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 42, Issue 6, February 2008, Pages 1121-1132, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.10.047.

Ambient air quality of Lucknow City (India) during use of fireworks on Diwali Festival – Barman et al. (2008) “The present study deals with the effect of fireworks on ambient air quality during Diwali Festival in Lucknow City. In this study, PM10, SO2, NO x and 10 trace metals associated with PM10 were estimated at four representative locations, during day and night times for Pre Diwali (day before Diwali) and Diwali day. On Diwali day 24 h average concentration of PM10, SO2, and NO x was found to be 753.3, 139.1, and 107.3 μg m−3, respectively, and these concentrations were found to be higher at 2.49 and 5.67 times for PM10, 1.95 and 6.59 times for SO2 and 1.79 and 2.69 for NO x , when compared with the respective concentration of Pre Diwali and normal day, respectively. On Diwali day, 24 h values for PM10, SO2, and NO x were found to be higher than prescribed limit of National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), and exceptionally high (7.53 times) for PM10. On Diwali night (12 h) mean level of PM10, SO2 and NO x was 1,206.2, 205.4 and 149.0 μg m−3, respectively, which was 4.02, 2.82 and 2.27 times higher than their respective daytime concentrations and showed strong correlations (p<0.01) with each other. The 24 h mean concentration of metals associated with PM10 was found to be in the order of Ca (3,169.44)>Fe (747.23)>Zn (542.62)>Cu (454.03),>Pb (307.54)>Mn (83.90)>Co (78.69)>Cr (42.10)>Ni (41.47)>Cd (34.69) in ng m−3 and all these values were found to be higher than the Pre Diwali (except Fe) and normal day. The metal concentrations on Diwali day were found to be significantly different than normal day (except Fe & Cu). The concentrations of Co, Ni, Cr and Cd on Diwali night were found to be significantly higher than daytime concentrations for Pre Diwali (control). The inter correlation of metals between Ca with Pb, Zn with Ni and Cr, Cu with Co, Co with Mn, Ni with Cd, Mn with Cd, Ni with Cd and Cr, and Cr with Cd showed significant relation either at p<0.05 or P<0.01 levels, which indicated that their sources were the same. The metals Cu, Co, Ni, Cr and Cd showed significant (p<0.01) association with PM10. These results indicate that fireworks during Diwali festival affected the ambient air quality adversely due to emission and accumulation of PM10, SO2, NO x and trace metals.” S. C. Barman, Ramesh Singh, M. P. S. Negi and S. K. Bhargava, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Volume 137, Numbers 1-3, 495-504, DOI: 10.1007/s10661-007-9784-1.

Recreational atmospheric pollution episodes: Inhalable metalliferous particles from firework displays – Moreno et al. (2007) “The use of fireworks creates an unusual and distinctive anthropogenic atmospheric pollution event. We report on aerosol samples collected during Las Fallas in Valencia, a 6-day celebration famous for its firework displays, and add comparative data on firework- and bonfire-contaminated atmospheric aerosol samples collected from elsewhere in Spain (Barcelona, L’Alcora, and Borriana) and during the Guy Fawkes celebrations in London. Specific high-profile official firework events during Las Fallas included the afternoon Mascletà and the nightly aerial displays (especially in the climactic final 2 days of the fiesta) and were accompanied by pollution spikes in suspended particles, NO, SO2, and the creation and dispersal of an aerosol cloud enriched in a range of metallic elements. Notable metal aerosol concentration increases recorded during Las Fallas were potassium (from 500 to 5900 ng m−3), aluminium (as Al2O3 from around 600 to 2200 ng m−3), titanium (from 200 to 700 ng m−3), magnesium (from 100 to 500 ng m−3), lead (from 17 to 379 ng m−3), barium (from 39 to 322 ng m−3), strontium (from 3 to 112 ng m−3), copper (from 12 to 71 ng m−3), and antimony (from 1 to 52 ng m−3). Firework-contaminated aerosols of similarly metalliferous composition were also identified at the other monitoring sites, although different sites show variations attributable to other sources such as bonfires and local industry. Unusual levels of the trace elements Ba, Sr and (to a lesser extent) Cu, always in proportions with Ba dominant, along with strongly enhanced K, Pb, and Sb, are identified as being particularly characteristic of firework aerosols. Although firework-related recreational pollution episodes are transient in nature, they are highly concentrated, contribute significantly to total annual metal emissions, and are on average fine enough to be easily inhaled and a health risk to susceptible individuals.” Teresa Moreno, Xavier Querol, Andrés Alastuey, Mari Cruz Minguillón, b, Jorge Pey, Sergio Rodriguez, José Vicente Miró, Carles Felis, Wes Gibbons, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 41, Issue 5, February 2007, Pages 913-922, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.09.019.

The air pollution caused by the burning of fireworks during the lantern festival in Beijing – Wang et al. (2007) “The effects of the burning of fireworks on air quality in Beijing was firstly assessed from the ambient concentrations of various air pollutants (SO2, NO2, PM2.5, PM10 and chemical components in the particles) during the lantern festival in 2006. Eighteen ions, 20 elements, and black carbon were measured in PM2.5 and PM10, and the levels of organic carbon could be well estimated from the concentrations of dicarboxylic acids. Primary components of Ba, K, Sr, Cl, Pb, Mg and secondary components of C5H6O42−, C3H2O42−, C2O42−, C4H4O42−, SO42−, NO3 were over five times higher in the lantern days than in the normal days. The firework particles were acidic and of inorganic matter mostly with less amounts of secondary components. Primary aerosols from the burning of fireworks were mainly in the fine mode, while secondary formation of acidic anions mainly took place on the coarse particles. Nitrate was mainly formed through homogeneous gas-phase reactions of NO2, while sulfate was largely from heterogeneous catalytic transformations of SO2. Fe could catalyze the formation of nitrate through the reaction of α-Fe2O3 with HNO3, while in the formation of sulfate, Fe is not only the catalyst, but also the oxidant. A simple method using the concentration of potassium and a modified method using the ratio of Mg/Al have been developed to quantify the source contribution of fireworks. It was found that over 90% of the total mineral aerosol and 98% of Pb, 43% of total carbon, 28% of Zn, 8% of NO3, and 3% of SO42− in PM2.5 were from the emissions of fireworks on the lantern night.” Ying Wang, Guoshun Zhuang, Chang Xu, Zhisheng An, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 41, Issue 2, January 2007, Pages 417-431, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.07.043.

Measurement of fine particulate and gas-phase species during the New Year’s fireworks 2005 in Mainz, Germany – Drewnick et al. (2006) “The chemical composition and chemically resolved size distributions of fine aerosol particles were measured at high time resolution (5 min) with a time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (TOF-AMS) during the New Year’s 2005 fireworks in Mainz, central Germany. In addition, particle number concentrations and trace gas concentrations were measured using a condensation particle counter (CPC) and a proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS). The main non-refractory components of the firework aerosol were potassium, sulfate, total organics and chloride. Increased trace gas mixing ratios of methanol, acetonitrile, acetone and acetaldehyde were observed. Aerosol nitrate and ammonium concentrations were not significantly affected by the fireworks as well as the measured aromatic trace gases. The sub-micron aerosol concentrations peaked about 20 min after midnight with total mass concentrations larger than 600 μg m−3. The trace gas concentrations peaked about 30 min later. Using the sulfur-to-potassium concentration ratio measured in another fireworks aerosol, it was for the first time possible to estimate the relative ionization efficiency of aerosol potassium, measured with the TOF-AMS. Here we found a value of RIEK=2.9.” Frank Drewnick, Silke S. Hings, Joachim Curtius, Gunter Eerdekens, Jonathan Williams, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 40, Issue 23, July 2006, Pages 4316-4327, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.03.040. [Full text]

Short-term variation in air quality associated with firework events: A case study – Ravindra et al. (2003) “The effect of fireworks on air quality was assessed from the ambient concentrations of various air pollutants (SO2, NO2, PM10 and TSP) during Diwali festival in Hisar city (India), in November 1999. The extensive use of fireworks was found to be related to short-term variation in air quality. During the festival the concentration of SO2 was observed to be increased [similar]10-fold at few sites, whereas the concentrations of NO2, PM10 and TSP increased 2–3 times, compared to the data collected on a typical winter day in December 1999. The maximum NO2 concentration was observed a day after the festival. The diurnal pattern of the above pollutants showed a slight increase in the night. The levels of these pollutants observed during Diwali were found to be moderately high, which can be associated with serious health impacts.” Khaiwal Ravindra, Suman Mor and C. P. Kaushik, J. Environ. Monit., 2003, 5, 260-264, DOI: 10.1039/B211943A. [Full text]

Changes in forced expiratory flow due to air pollution from fireworks: Preliminary report – Smith & Dinh (1975) “Spirometry in humans and air sampling have been performed during a brief but intense bout of air pollution due to exploding fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Honolulu, Hawaii. An integrating nephelometer recorded a peak concentration of respirable particles in excess of 3.8 mg/m3. X-ray dispersive analysis, combined with scanning electron microscopy of particles collected with an Anderson cascade impactor, indicated that most of the small particles were probably crystals of KCl. Conditions were ideal for a possible SO2KCl aerosol synergism which may have led to the measured changes in maximal midexpiratory flow (FEV25–75%). Two male subjects with a history of chronic respiratory disease experienced an average decrease of 26% in FEV25–75% when compared to that measured the previous night. Three normal males experienced a 4.7% decrease approaching statistical significance (0.1 > P > 0.05), but the overall difference in FEV25–75% in healthy male and female subjects combined was not statistically significant. Thus, while susceptible people may be measurably affected, the general population of Honolulu probably experienced little, if any, change in FEV25–75% with the air pollution levels reported here.” Richard Merrill Smith, Vu-Dinh Dinh, Environmental Research, Volume 9, Issue 3, June 1975, Pages 321-331, doi:10.1016/0013-9351(75)90012-2.


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