Table of Contents
International Journal of Atmospheric Sciences
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 128463, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/128463
Research Article

Frequency of Mine Dust Episodes and the Influence of Meteorological Parameters on the Witwatersrand Area, South Africa

Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 26 September 2013

Academic Editor: Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis

Copyright © 2013 Olusegun Oguntoke et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aeolian dispersal of dust from gold mine tailing storage facilities impacts negatively on amenities, human health, and the environment of the Witwatersrand region, South Africa. The present study adopted a multivariate analytical method to quantify the effect of specific meteorological parameters on dust fall emissions, monitored at 22 sites in the central Witwatersrand area. Using meteorological and dust fall data from 2001 to 2010, the relationships between weather and dust fallout deposition rates were explored across the sites at different seasons. Dust deposition rate varied among seasons, with spring months showing the highest levels and frequency. Atmospheric humidity had negative correlations ( ) with dust fall while wind speed showed positive correlations ( ) at the selected sites ( ). Sites with low influence of relative humidity had higher impact on wind speed. Mean relative humidity below 50% and mean wind speed above 4 m/s were predicted as critical levels for dust episodes incidence at sites that recorded “heavy” and “very heavy” dust fall. For environmental planning purposes, current mitigation measures should be manipulated in relation to levels of air humidity and wind speed for dust emission reduction, especially during spring.