Intraurban air pollution exposure has been modeled in multiple ways in environmental justice research. While most first generation models were primarily proximity-based, later generation models tend to utilize spatial statistics and integrate emission-meteorological models of air dispersion. This study employs the US EPA's AERMOD—a steady-state plume model that incorporates air dispersion, and simple and complex terrain—to examine the spatial and topographical sensitivity of modeled sulfur dioxide emissions arising from two coal-fired power plants located in central Chicago. Specifically, this study compares air pollution exposure outcomes of different elevation regimes that vary the scale and character of terrain. It then uses the outcomes to determine the association between concentration values and socio-economic characteristics. The results suggest that higher predicted concentration values are calculated when using an elevation model in AERMOD. The elevation model that most closely represents the terrain shows disproportionate exposure to minorities and low-income populations.
|Commitee:||Chen, Xuwei, Smith, C. Scott|
|School:||Northern Illinois University|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 48/06M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Geographic information science, Public health, Environmental Justice|
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