Regional dispersion of oxidized sulfur in Central Chile
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Chile has a long tradition of exploiting mineral resources, particularly copper (Cu). One of the largest Cu smelters, Caletones, located some 150 km south of the country’s capital, Santiago, in Central Chile, is responsible for about 0.4% of about 70 Tg S/yr oxidized sulfur (SOx) emitted by anthropogenic sources worldwide. Santiago, a megacity with 5 million inhabitants, stands for about 5Gg S/yr. The average meteorological conditions are unfavorable for the dispersion of pollutants in this area. All this poses risks for human health and vegetation. Also, downwind from these polluted areas there may be large-scale impacts on cloud properties and on oxidative cycles. Here, we present the first attempt to assess the regional distribution of SOx in Central Chile using a dispersion model (MATCH) driven with data from a limited area weather forecast model (HIRLAM). Emphasis has been given to the impact of Cu smelters upon urban air quality, particularly that of Santiago. Six 1-month long periods were simulated for the years 1997, 1998 and 1999. These periods span over a broad range of typical meteorological conditions in the area including El Ni*no and La Ni*na years. Estimates of the regional dispersion and deposition patterns were calculated. The emissions from the large Cu smelters dominate the distribution of SOx. A budget of SOx over an area of 200 200km2 around Santiago is presented. There is too low a number of monitoring stations to perform a detailed evaluation of MATCH. Nevertheless, the model reproduces consistently all the regional-scale characteristics that can be derived from the available observations.
Artículo de publicación SCOPUS