Compact air quality sensor networks offer new possibilities for EPAs

A key role of environmental protection agencies is to ensure a healthy living environment. Poor air quality is the most serious environmental health issue globally and the primary driving force for ambient air quality monitoring. International and national legislation defines limiting values for air pollutants and requires local authorities to ensure compliance.

Reference grade air quality monitoring stations

Fixed reference grade air quality monitoring stations are required to allow regulatory bodies to accurately determine the levels of air pollution at a given monitoring site. The monitoring sites are deemed to be representative of the monitored domain, as sites are selected against stringent criteria.  Reference monitoring is governed by legislation and prescribed methods, allowing air quality to be reported against stated air quality guidelines in a repeatable manner. The data, whilst accurate, is not necessarily representative for a broader area, especially when considering the influence of weather, terrain and localized emission sources such as traffic and industry.

High performance compact air quality sensors

The need for higher spatial resolution data has driven innovation in air quality monitoring technologies. Compact air quality sensors allow deployment of dense supplementary air quality networks to bridge the gaps between reference grade stations. Data from these networks provides an accurate picture of air quality at a hyperlocal level and may be used to manage air quality in completely new ways — such as real-time traffic guidance based on air quality or apps offering personalized health alerts.

Vaisala – over 80 years of experience in environmental monitoring

Vaisala weather monitoring technologies are globally recognized and used by meteorological institutes for demanding environmental observations. Since local weather strongly affects air quality, Vaisala weather sensors are widely applied in air quality monitoring. Environmental protection agencies also rely on Vaisala ceilometers for boundary layer monitoring.  Combined weather and air quality observations provide added value for customers, which is why Vaisala has leveraged its unique know-how in environmental sensing and extended its offering with a solution for ambient air quality monitoring.

Vaisala Air Quality Transmitter AQT400 Series is a family of compact sensors for measuring gaseous pollutants and particulate matter. The performance of the sensors has been evaluated by the prestigious AQ-SPEC center with excellent results. The Vaisala air quality network solution consists of AQT400 Series sensors, WXT530 Series compact weather stations and Vaisala Observation Network Manager NM10 for data visualization and network management. The solution can be built to be an integral part of existing fixed reference grade network. Additionally, the solution may be complemented with an air quality modeling package provided by Vaisala partners.