Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

First Advisor

Gregory R. Carmichael


Deteriorating air quality is one of the major problems faced worldwide and in particular in Asia. The world's most polluted megacities are located in Asia highlighting the urgent need for efforts to improve the air quality. New Delhi (India), one of the world's most polluted cities, was the host of the Common Wealth Games during the period of 4-14 October 2010. This high profile event provided a good opportunity to accelerate efforts to improve air quality. Computational advances now allow air quality forecast models to fully couple the meteorology with chemical constituents within a unified modeling system that allows two-way interactions. The WRF-Chem model is used to simulate air quality in New Delhi.

The thesis focuses on evaluating air quality and meteorology feedbacks. Four nested domains ranging from South Asia, Northern India, NCR Delhi and Delhi city at 45km, 15km, 5km and 1.67km resolution for a period of 20day (26thsep-15thoct, 2010) are used in the study. The predicted mean surface concentrations of various pollutants show similar spatial distributions with peak values in the middle of the domain reflecting the traffic and population patterns in the city. Along with these activities, construction dust and industrial emissions contribute to high levels of criteria pollutants. The study evaluates the WRF-Chem capabilities using a new emission inventory developed over Delhi at a fine resolution of 1.67km and evaluating the results with observational data from 11 monitoring sties placed at various Game venues.

The contribution of emission sectors including transportation, power, industry, and domestic to pollutant concentrations at targeted regions are studied and the results show that transportation and domestic sector are the major contributors to the pollution levels in Delhi, followed by industry. Apart from these sectors, emissions outside of Delhi contribute 20-50% to surface concentrations depending on the species. This indicates that pollution control efforts should take a regional perspective.

Air quality projections in Delhi for 2030 are investigated. The Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) model is used to generate a 2030 future emission scenario for Delhi using projections of air quality control measures and energy demands. Net reductions in CO concentrations by 50%, and increases of 140% and 40% in BC and NOx concentrations, respectively, are predicted. The net changes in concentration are associated with increases in transport and industry sectors. The domestic sector still has a significant contribution to air pollutant levels.

The air quality levels show a profound effect under this scenario on the environment and human health. The increase in pollution from 2010 to 2030 is predicted to cause an increase in surface temperature by ~0.65K. These increasing pollution levels also show effects on the radiative forcing. The high aerosols loading i.e. BC, PM2.5 and PM10 levels show strong influence on the short and longwave fluxes causing strong surface dimming and strong atmosphere heating due to BC. These results indicate transport and domestic sectors should be targeted for air quality and climate mitigations.


Air qulaity, Climate, Future projection, Local and Regional, Radaitive Forcing


xii, 116 pages


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Copyright 2012 Pallavi Marrapu