Analysis of airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) over Hong Kong using remote sensing and GIS

Wen Zhong Shi, Man Sing Wong, Jingzhi Wang, Yuanling Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Airborne fine particulates (PM2.5; particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 μm) are receiving increasing attention for their potential toxicities and roles in visibility and health. In this study, we interpreted the behavior of PM2.5 and its correlation with meteorological parameters in Hong Kong, during 2007-2008. Significant diurnal variations of PM2.5 concentrations were observed and showed a distinctive bimodal pattern with two marked peaks during the morning and evening rush hour times, due to dense traffic. The study observed higher PM2.5 concentrations in winter when the northerly and northeasterly winds bring pollutants from the Chinese mainland, whereas southerly monsoon winds from the sea bring fresh air to the city in summer. In addition, higher concentrations of PM2.5 were observed in rush hours on weekdays compared to weekends, suggesting the influence of anthropogenic activities on fine particulate levels, e.g., traffic-related local PM2.5 emissions. To understand the spatial pattern of PM2.5 concentrations in the context of the built-up environment of Hong Kong, we utilized MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT) 500 m data and visibility data to derive aerosol extinction profile, then converted to aerosol and PM2.5 vertical profiles. A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) prototype was developed to integrate atmospheric PM2.5 vertical profiles with 3D GIS data. An example of the query function in GIS prototype is given. The resulting 3D database of PM2.5 concentrations provides crucial information to air quality regulators and decision makers to comply with air quality standards and in devising control strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6825-6836
Number of pages12
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Aerosol optical thickness
  • GIS
  • Particulate matter
  • Remote sensing
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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