Spatial and temporal pattern of pollutants dispersed in the atmosphere from the Budapest chemical works industrial site

Leelőssy, I. Lagzi, Róbert Mészáros

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In April 2015, a serious industrial pollution gained large public interest in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. An abandoned industrial site of the former Budapest Chemical Works company was found to contain 2000-3000 tonnes of leaking industrial waste and dangerous chemicals. As the former factory is located in a densely populated urban environment, serious public health concerns have risen. The pollution has been transported for several years from the industrial site to the neighboring areas by two ways: with groundwater transport and in the atmosphere. This study attempts to estimate the main characteristics of atmospheric transport of pollutants originating from the Budapest Chemical Works site. The 13-year long dispersion pattern is investigated using a Gaussian dispersion model, taking into account the strong weather dependence of emission rates through deflation and evaporation. The very limited information of the amount, composition, and temporal evolution of the leaking chemicals makes it impossible to provide emission estimates; however, the spatial distribution and temporal characteristics of the pollution can be investigated. Weather-dependent emission rate was found to be the dominant factor of the pollution, counteracted by the atmospheric stability. Largest concentrations were present in the spring and summer and during the day, while nighttime emissions were generally weak. The main direction of the dispersion was towards the south-east, however, deflating and evaporating materials showed largely different results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-115
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2017



  • Air pollution
  • Gaussian dispersion model
  • Industrial emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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