Reflectance spectroscopy is an effective tool for monitoring soot pollution in an urban suburb

H. Saaroni*, A. Chudnovsky, E. Ben-Dor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study examines whether converting the fossil fuel of the Tel Aviv power station from oil to gas influences air pollution in the local urban environment. To this end, the spectral properties of accumulated dust on tree leaves and paper bags were assessed before (2004) and after (2006) the conversion. The sampling site was a garden in a neighborhood located 2700 m downwind of the power station. In addition, air pollution concentrations and particulate matter parameters recorded by a local meteorological station were analyzed (PM10, NOx, NO2, NO, and SO2). Although differences in the average monthly concentration of pollution parameters are mostly insignificant between the two periods, the accumulated particulate matter exhibits considerably different spectral patterns. All first period samples exhibit a distinctly concave slope in the spectral region between 400 and 1400 nm, indicative of high amounts of soot, most likely due to the combustion products of fuel oil exhausted by the power plant. In contrast, the second period samples exhibit spectra that indicate reduced soot content and even appear slightly convex, evidencing the presence of dust of mineral origin, a feature likely masked by the soot in the first period. Thus, the spectral data support that the power plant conversion results in less pollution. More generally, this study corroborates that VIS-NIR-SWIR spectroscopy characterizes key properties of the particulate layer accumulating on sampled surfaces and thus, is a powerful method for monitoring the urban environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1110
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • Accumulated particulate matter
  • Power plant station
  • Reflectance spectra
  • Soot dust
  • Tel Aviv


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