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Intra-urban spatial variation of magnetic particles: monitoring via leaf saturation isothermal remanent magnetisation (SIRM).

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Atmospheric Environment: Part A - General Topics
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)111-120
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Motorised traffic generates large numbers of particulate pollutants in the urban environment. Exposure to small particles has been associated with adverse effects on human health. Biomonitoring of magnetic particles accumulated on leaf surfaces may provide information on the concentration of, and exposure to, atmospheric particles at high spatial resolution. In this study, leaf saturation isothermal remanent magnetisation (SIRM) of three urban tree types (Carpinus betulus and Tilia sp. with hairy and non-hairy leaves) was measured at high spatial resolution in the city of Ghent, Belgium, in June and September 2009. We compared leaf SIRM between land use classes with different urban habitat quality. In a multiple regression model, we tried to explain the spatial variability in the leaf SIRM by tree species, sampling height, distance to the nearest road and its traffic intensity, tram frequency and a measure for regional traffic emissions (derived from traffic intensity of and the distance to the most important highways around the city in the main four wind directions). We found that the leaf SIRM was significantly influenced by tree species, distance to the nearest road and its traffic intensity and tram frequency. The SIRM significantly increased with increasing traffic intensity and tram frequency and by decreasing distance to the nearest road. It is concluded that the leaf SIRM is a good bio-indicator for monitoring spatial variation of magnetic particles in urban environments.