SOCAAR’s investigators collaborate together in multidisciplinary studies. These studies involve personnel and instruments from several research groups affiliated with SOCAAR, often in partnership with government or other organisations. Some studies are lab based whereas others involve intensive field campaigns. The intensive campaigns involve the simultaneous operation of a suite of instruments for several weeks at a site of particular interest, in order to investigate the atmospheric phenomena from multiple perspectives. The availability of MAPLE (Mobile Analysis of ParticuLates in the Environment) has greatly facilitated participation in these campaigns.
Click the links below for information on current or past studies and campaigns:
Delin and Jackie working on the IOGAPS at 6AM.
SOCAAR is currently conducting an air quality monitoring study: the Spatial Characterization of Ultrafine Particles in Toronto (SCULPT) study. The SCULPT study will investigate the impact of traffic by measuring ultrafine particles, black carbon, fine particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen at different sites across Toronto. The purpose of the SCULPT study is to create a map that illustrates how the concentrations the above mentioned pollutants vary across Toronto.
SOCAAR has the following openings for this study:
The Research Technician will provide pivotal support to the research team prior to, during and after the field study. For job requirements and application details, please click here.
Members of the public interested in finding out about the air quality near their homes are invited to participate in this air quality monitoring study. For participation details, please click here.
Starting in Spring/Summer 2013, a near roadway monitoring network pilot study will be conducted to evaluate differences between regional and near-road data to quantify the degree of traffic-related pollutant concentrations. The study will be conducted at three near-road monitoring sites in Toronto in collaboration with Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Differences between urban (SOCAAR’s main lab),Highway 401 (MOE site), and two suburban near road sites (Toronto Island and York University) will be identified by evaluating temporal variations in the pollutant concentrations, spatial gradients or footprint size (e.g. Ultrafine particles, black carbon, NOx, CO), and emission factors from vehicles on the roadway. Implementing this network of near-road monitoring stations will improve the understanding of the relationships between traffic-pollution exposure and health, and support the development of policy tools to mitigate health impacts.
The Exhaust Measurement and Inhalation Toxicology Testing of Emerging Diesel Fuels (EMITTED) study was developed to evaluate the effect of emission control technologies and biodiesel fuel type on the physicochemical and toxicological properties of vehicle exhaust. A process flow diagram summarizing the EMITTED study’s design is shown above. The test engine, a 1997 Cummins B3.9 heavy-duty engine, is operated at two load and speed conditions (point A). The effect of diesel fuel type on exhaust composition is investigated with three fuel types (point B). The subsequent effects of emission control devices (point C) are assessed with two commercially available diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) units. The separate DOC and DPF units are configured in series along the exhaust stream with sampling ports installed upstream and downstream of each device to isolate their independent oxidation effects. At each sampling point a range of online and offline instrumentation has been commissioned for gaseous and particulate phase pollutant physical and chemical characterisation (point D).
Traffic-related atmospheric pollutants (TRAP) are believed to adversely impact local and regional air quality. Estimation of the exposure of these populations to TRAP is challenging as concentrations of TRAP varies both spatially and temporally. In addition, air quality models are required to use representative of real world conditions to assess the effect of the vehicle emissions. However, the physical and chemical properties of primary and secondary TRAPs can be changed on the sub-grid scale due to evolution or condensation onto pre-existing aerosol. To characterize the spatial and temporal variation of TRAP in near-road environments, a study of the evolution of ambient pollutants near a highway was conducted in Toronto in the summer of 2010 through the Fast Evolution of Vehicle Emissions near Roadways (FEVER) campaign. Two mobile laboratory trucks, the U of T mobile laboratory (MAPLE) and the Environment Canada CRUISER were deployed to measure the decay gradients of TRAP as a function of the distance from the highway. The study included mobile measurements of particle size distributions and chemical composition using a Fast Mobility Particle Spectrometer (FMPS), an Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (APS), an Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS), an Aethalometer, a particle-bound PAH (p-PAH) monitor including trace gases and meteorology.
MAPLE used to conduct the 2010 FEVER campagin.
Instruments on board MAPLE were used to measure TRAP at the side of the highway.
'Health Effects of Aerosols in Toronto' (HEAT) campaign was carried out during February 19th to March 19th, 2010. The major foci of this campaign were to understand the role of physicochemical characteristics of ambient particulate matter (PM) on health, and to characterize the high volume coarse, fine and ultrafine particle concentrators. These concentrators are used for in vivo human and animal exposure studies as a part of Concentrated Ambient Particle Exposure Facility (CAPEF) at Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, University of Toronto. Gage is located at a busy street of downtown Toronto, which make it ideal site to study the health effects of typical urban PM. The results of this campaign would help in understanding the mechanisms underlying the adverse effects of ambient PM on health.
Various instruments (FMPS, APS, OPC) measuring number concentration and size distribution of ambient and concentrated particulate matter.
Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) measuring size segregated chemical composition of ambient and concentrated particulate matter.
Collection of concentrated particulate matter on filters for in vitro cell exposure, chemical characterization and reactive oxygen species (ROS) analyses
Egbert is a small town about 90km north of Toronto. A two-week intensive campaign was conducted at the Egbert site during October 2009. A fall intensive campaign provided a comparison with the spring data already obtained for during the 2007 intensive at Egbert. The primary focus of the campaign was the chemical speciation of fine and ultrafine particles to assess the relative contributions of primary and secondary species. For this campaign the instrumentation at Egbert was supplemented with a thermodenuder. The combination of a thermodenuder with a Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPS) and an Aerosol Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS) provided the size distributions and the chemistry of non-volatile particles. These results can be used to apportion particles in aged environments to their original sources.
The MAPLE vehicle at the Egbert Site, conducting field tests during the day.
Instruments on board the MAPLE vehicle.
The mobile laboratory MAPLE was deployed September 18th-26th 2008 to study on-road emissions of PM and spatial gradients in neighbourhoods using sampling while in motion. MAPLE is equipped with advanced instrumentation for characterizing the properties of ambient PM2.5, ultrafine particles (UFP), and gaseous pollutants. The main objective of the study was to evaluate the spatial distributions of traffic related pollutants near major roadways and within residential neighbourhoods across Toronto. During the mobile phase of the study, four main experiments were performed that involved driving on the highways, i.e., Hwy 401, Hwy 400, and Hwy 404, exploring the impact of highways on neighbourhoods, studying the UFP regional background concentration and investigating the plume of individual vehicles.
Spatial distribution of the number concentrations of ultrafine particles in the 6 nm to 560 nm size range.
The MAPLE vehicle used during this intensive campaign.