Airborne Particles

The presence of very high concentrations of airborne particles encountered in Thessaloniki, can not fully be understood. Possible causes can be trafic and house heating, but also industry, bare land and the sea. The problem becomes more intense because of the winds. The strongest winds in the city are NW (e.g. Vardaris) but the most usual ones are SW (sea breeze). Taking into consideration the position of the city and the surrounding industry, it is possile that the strong NW wings carry the polution from the industrial estates into the city, instead of clearing its atmosphere. The SW winds on the other hand carry particles and humidity from the sea into the city.

Airborne particles are usually separated into
PM10:
Particulate Matter with diameter less than 10 microns (inhaled).

ΡΜ2,5:
Particulate Matter with diameter less than 2,5 microns, through the lungs can enter the blood causing considerable more damage.

Airborne particles are responsible for a large selection of lung or heart diseases like asthma, vronhitis etc. Furthermore they can also be dangerous because of their chemical composition, as they can include heavy metals and other toxic organinc compounds. The efforts of the Laboratory of Thermophysical Properties & Environmental Processes are concentrated in the understanding of their sources, employing a large series of measurements coupled with modern dispersion simulation software.