Airport Emission Studies

A study in progress near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC) found concencrated ultra-fine particulates (UFP) timed with overflights.  That is, more paticulate density (measured in a mobile sensor array) as a jetliner passed overhead. 

The data allows aviation-produced volumes to be stated as a percent of the total volume and refine exposure (dosage) to small areas for correlation with health statistics. Mobility also allows measuring under routes used in different "flow" and runway use configurations. 

The SEATAC study also expanded the USC study around LAX, with similar results.


SMAAC Note: FAA flight recordings can count flights over a small area and use height and speed data to derive the UFP density over time. If UFP emissions by density were modeled in the International Noise Model based on the above findings, there would be a high correlation with noise exposure intensity on the ground.  Since intensity (loudness) is expressed as an expotential function and density, weight and volume for particulates are linear:

1. There would be a correlation of high-DNL (or ldn) and a much higher UFP density at modeled points.

2. Per flight, UFP density at a lower DNL contour would be proportionally higher.

3. This means that UFP densities would coincide with DNL values as mapped but are more likely the cause of increased adverse health outcomes than noise intensity.



2009 US EPA Integrated Science Assessment

Evidence of UFP adverse health effects :
• Cardiovascular-related hospital admissions – Cardiovascular effects                                                                                        • Emergency department visits– Respiratory effects
• Changes in lung function
• Pulmonary inflammation
• Limited evidence for increases in emergency
department visits and hospital admissions

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  • Forum Manager
    commented 2019-03-09 09:04:52 -0600
    A question asked by email was “MAC has portable db meters. Why don`t they record jet noise near the air quality sensors?” Good question. We think detecting particulate density by particle size isn`t done by MPCA. We also know particle fall times are a lot slower than the speed of sound.

    Bob Friedman has been frustrated by the MAC policy for using portable db meters sparingly. ANOMS have directional microphones that sometimes allow recording operational noise from two runways separately. Commissioners are comforted by the idea that the ANOMS “validate” DNL contours. That they don`t is easy to prove: the noise-intensity gradient (the varying differences between contour lines) are large and routes are combined in INM inputs and computed for varying sized ground areas.