Performance and deployment of low-cost particle sensor units to monitor biomass burning events and their application in an educational initiative
Biomass burning smoke is often a significant source of airborne fine particles in regional areas where air quality monitoring is scarce. Emerging sensor technology provides opportunities to monitor air quality on a much larger geographical scale with much finer spatial resolution. It can also engage communities in the conversation around local pollution sources. The SMoke Observation Gadget (SMOG), a unit with a Plantower dust sensor PMS3003, was designed as part of a school-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) project looking at smoke impacts in regional areas of Victoria, Australia. A smoke-specific calibration curve between the SMOG units and a standard regulatory instrument was developed using an hourly data set collected during a peat fire. The calibration curve was applied to the SMOG units during all field-based validation measurements at several locations and during different seasons. The results showed strong associations between individual SMOG units for PM2.5 concentrations (r(2) = 0.93-0.99) and good accuracy (mean absolute error (MAE) < 2 mu g m(-3)). Correlations of the SMOG units to reference instruments also demonstrated strong associations (r(2) = 0.87-95) and good accuracy (MAE of 2.5-3.0 mu g m(-3)). The PM2.5 concentrations tracked by the SMOG units had a similar response time as those measured by collocated reference instruments. Overall, the study has shown that the SMOG units provide relevant information about ambient PM2.5 concentrations in an airshed impacted predominantly by biomass burning, provided that an adequate adjustment factor is applied.
Department/SchoolMenzies Institute for Medical Research
Place of publicationMatthaeusstrasse 11, Basel, Switzerland, Ch-4057
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