Analysis of Alpha Activity Levels and Dependence on Meteorological Factors over a Complex Terrain in Northern Iberian Peninsula (2014–2018)
Hernández-Ceballos, Miguel Ángel
SubjectGross alpha activity
Northern Iberian Peninsula
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Alpha ambient concentrations in ground-level air were measured weekly in Bilbao (northern Spain) by collecting aerosols in filters between 2014 and 2018. Over this period, the alpha activity concentrations in the aerosol’s samples range from 13.9 µBq/m3 to 246.5 µBq/m3, with a mean of 66.49 ± 39.33 µBq/m3. The inter-annual and intra-annual (seasonal and monthly) variations are analyzed, with the highest activity in autumn months and the lowest one in winter months. Special attention has been paid to alpha peak concentrations (weekly concentrations above the 90th percentile) and its relationship with regional meteorological scenarios by means of air mass trajectories and local meteorological parameters. The meteorological analysis of these high alpha concentrations has revealed two airflow patterns-one from the south with land origin and one from the north with maritime origin-mainly associated with these alpha peak concentrations. Surface winds during representative periods of both airflow patterns are also analyzed in combination with 222Rn concentrations, which demonstrated the different daily evolution associated with each airflow pattern. The present results are relevant in understanding trends and meteorological factors affecting alpha activity concentrations in this area, and hence, to control potential atmospheric environmental releases and ensure the environmental and public health.