Contrasted effects of relative humidity and precipitation on urban PM2.5 pollution in high elevation urban areas

Rasa Zalakeviciute, Jesús López-Villada, Yves Rybarczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Levels of urban pollution can be influenced largely by meteorological conditions and the topography of the area. The impact of the relative humidity (RH) on the daily average PM2.5 concentrations was studied at several sites in a mid-size South American city at a high elevation over the period of nine years. In this work, we show that there is a positive correlation between daily average urban PM2.5 concentrations and the RH in traffic-busy central areas, and a negative correlation in the outskirts of the city inmore industrial areas. While in the traffic sites strong events of precipitation (≥9 mm) played a major role in PM2.5 pollution removal, in the city outskirts, the PM2.5 concentrations decreased with increasing RH independently of rain accumulation. Increasing PM2.5 concentrations are to be expected in any highly motorized city where there is high RH and a lack of strong precipitation, especially in rapidly growing and developing countries with high motorization due to poor fuel quality. Finally, two models, based on a logistic regression algorithm, are proposed to describe the effect of rain and RH on PM2.5, when the source of pollution is traffic-based vs. industry-based.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2064
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018


  • Combustion efficiency
  • Precipitation
  • Relative humidity
  • Urban PM


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