Air Quality in Saudi Arabia: Assessment of Oxidant Contribution in Multiple Environments

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Air pollution is widely considered as a problematic issue in developing countries, causing damage to human health, environment and materials. Health effects of air pollution has been recognised as "adverse" upon air pollutants constitution, which varies in severity, from causing premature death and respiratory diseases, to less severe, as reducing quality of life.

Saudi Arabia has experienced a rapid growth of population and expansion in industrial activates such as manufacturing and exporting petrochemicals over the past couple of decades. Emissions associated with these changes and activities are expected to deteriorate air quality at both local and regional scales and contribute to changes in atmospheric processes.
In this paper, we provide an overview of air quality at a wide range of environments representing urban, sub-urban, industrial and background locations in Saudi Arabia. The analysis will provide insights into the concentration frequency distributions of key, regulated pollutants as well as their diurnal and seasonal trends. A more focused analysis of the relationship of ambient levels of ozone and nitrogen oxides has been conducted to provide insights into oxidant levels across multiple locations. This analysis allows us to assess the variability of oxidant contribution as a function of nitrogen oxides in and out of major cities.
We have studied Ox (NO2 + O3) as function of NOx to quantify changes in regional and local contribution to Ox levels. In other words, we will present an overview of the extent of the regional vs. NOx dependence contribution to oxidants in Saudi Arabia. Findings from this work are going to enhance our understanding of atmospheric photochemical processes in an arid environment, where limited work has, so far, been undertaken.
The study results reveal that Ox levels at seventeen studied sites were generally mostly affected by regional contribution rather local influence with significant variability between regions and with slight changes between seasons. A limited number of locations experienced a significant NOx-dependant contribution to the oxidant levels reflecting contribution of local emissions to oxidant formation, while the remaining locations appeared to be dominated by regional oxidant formation. This was consistent with an overall relatively low concentrations of NOx in most urban sites compared to values observed in some European locations such as the UK; reflecting perhaps different emission profiles and/or atmospheric processes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2020


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