Influence of particulate matter on air quality due to “Nortes” events in theGulf of Mexico

Gilberto Fuentes García, Pablo Sánchez Álvarez, Rodolfo Sosa Echeverría

 Atmospheric Pollution Research |


Mauro Cortez-Huerta, Rodolfo Sosa Echeverría*, Gilberto Fuentes García*, Rafael Antonio Durán, Pablo Sánchez Álvarez*, Víctor Magaña, Armando Retama

* Ciencias Ambientales | Contaminación Ambiental



he Gulf of Mexico is a region of great international importance, as well as the movement of ships that occur in it, with the port of Veracruz being the most important and currently being expanded. The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of the particulate matter resulting from this expansion, considering the “Nortes” effect that occurs annually from September to May in the Gulf of Mexico. Four periods of “Nortes” were evaluated from 2017 to 2020 were evaluated, identifying 52 events to examine their influence on air quality. Using in situ meteorological parameters and the HYSPLIT model’s cluster reanalysis database, 15 “Nortes” events were linked to measurements from the air quality monitoring station located at the port. The results reveal that “Nortes” events influence poor air quality due to particulate matter within a 30 by 30 km grid, as simulated by the CALPUFF dispersion model. This was attributed to particulate matter resuspension caused by wind speeds exceeding 11 m/s within an 8 km downwind from the expansion area. A concentration range of particulate matter of 60–70 μg/m3 was associated with the effect “Nortes” at the air quality monitoring station and the CALPUFF model. However, maximum concentrations ranged from 1,030 to 2,800 μg/m3 at different receptors, as indicated by the CALPUFF model. These findings underscore the importance of accounting for the impact of meteorological phenomena on air quality during the expansion and operation of ports around the world.