Particulate matter levels in a South American megacity: the metropolitan area of Lima-Callao, Peru

  • Jose Silva
  • Jhojan Rojas
  • Magdalena Norabuena
  • Carolina Molina
  • Richard A. Toro
  • Manuel A. Leiva-Guzmán


The temporal and spatial trends in the variability of PM10 and PM2.5 from 2010 to 2015 in the metropolitan area of Lima-Callao, Peru, are studied and interpreted in this work. The mean annual concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 have ranges (averages) of 133–45 μg m−3 (84 μg m−3) and 35–16 μg m−3 (26 μg m−3) for the monitoring sites under study. In general, the highest annual concentrations are observed in the eastern part of the city, which is a result of the pattern of persistent local winds entering from the coast in a south-southwest direction. Seasonal fluctuations in the particulate matter (PM) concentrations are observed; these can be explained by subsidence thermal inversion. There is also a daytime pattern that corresponds to the peak traffic of a total of 9 million trips a day. The PM2.5 value is approximately 40% of the PM10 value. This proportion can be explained by PM10 re-suspension due to weather conditions. The long-term trends based on the Theil-Sen estimator reveal decreasing PM10 concentrations on the order of −4.3 and −5.3% year−1 at two stations. For the other stations, no significant trend is observed. The metropolitan area of Lima-Callao is ranked 12th and 16th in terms of PM10 and PM2.5, respectively, out of 39 megacities. The annual World Health Organization thresholds and national air quality standards are exceeded. A large fraction of the Lima population is exposed to PM concentrations that exceed protection thresholds. Hence, the development of pollution control and reduction measures is paramount.


Particulate matter Air pollution assessment Long-term trend Metropolitan area of Lima-Callao, Peru Megacity 



We acknowledge the financial support of the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru–SENAMHI-Perú, for project SNIP N° 199842 “Expansion and Improvement of the Monitoring Network for the Forecasting of Air Quality in the Metropolitan Area of Lima” and Program 096—PPR096-Air Quality Management. MALG acknowledges the support of the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research CONICYT/FONDECYT 2016 grant no. 1160617. RAT acknowledges the partial support of the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research CONICYT/FONDECYT INICIACION 2015 grant no. 11150931. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, and decision to publish or the preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interests

The authors declared that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

10661_2017_6327_MOESM1_ESM.docx (456 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 456 kb).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Meteorology and Hydrology ServiceLimaPeru
  2. 2.Center for Environmental Science and Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile

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