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On Air Quality

Discussion of the Cumulusutils tool and website generator.

Moderator: HansR

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On Air Quality

Post by HansR »

Air quality is a complex matter. Not so much in terms of technology but because every country has it's own environmental organisation which produces its own research and creates its own Air Quality Indices (AQIs) for Particle Matter, which for the sake of simplicity are often combined with other pollutants like NO2 and O3 , deviate in normative periods (1 hr average, 3 hr average or 24 hr average). This makes it almost impossible to present a unified Air quality image from the AQI perspective. If one seeks compliance with the normative country one supports and/or chooses.

It is clear that devices like the AirLink, PurpleAir and organisations like AirNow are busy setting a de facto standard. My advise to the user would be if you are confused or your country does not really has great support for an Air quality standard, go for the US standard. It is clear, well worked out and supported worldwide.

Many sites show Air Quality worldwide. Look e.g. at PurpleAir , IQAir or Davis (although for the last I can't find the map - Anybody?). A special site is aqicn.org which not only shows a lot of info, has great FAQ but also has a great sensor page. It is a good place to start.

Some scientific articles on sensor comparison and AQI can be found here on the forum with this post. Scientists have looked into these sensors to see how they compare to the official measurements. The cheap sensors compare positively. Some articles on this subject are included as well.

The cheap sensors are often referred to as toys. They are not. Many environmental organisations set up a community of users using this type of sensors to get indicative measurements. They can be a bit compared to WOW but are more open. Take a look at Sensor.Cummunity, Luftdaten.info and the Dutch RIVM community page (leading to Sensor.Community). Look in your own country for organisations like this.

For meteorology most people know where to find the information or are educated in that field. For Air Quality that is less so and it is a good idea to read yourself into the matter. Knowing that an AQI is basically a unit related to the statistic of how many people are submitted to hospital with certain types of diseases and the fact that the AQI is apparently not a clear objective figure like temperature. That is kind of worrying in my opinion.

I will modify and extend this post when and if I find additional info or when required. You are invited to add information yourself in the comments. It is more or less independent of the AirQuality module.
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https://meteo-wagenborgen.nl / Cumulus 3.9.1 (build: 3096)
Davis Vantage Pro 2+ / Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Plus Rev 1.3
Raspbian Buster / 5.4.51-v7+ armv7l
Mono JIT compiler version (tarball Fri Sep 4 14:21:54 UTC 2020)

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