28 January 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Cork City Council has installed a network of air quality monitors at various locations across the council’s functional area. The sensors are measuring Particulate Matter (PM), i.e. small fine-scale dust particles that are among other things, the by-products of burning solid fuel. The sensors in use were purchased from Purple Air and the data is streamed live on the PurpleAir homepage (https://www2.purpleair.com).
The data from the particulate matter units are intended for use as indicators of air quality only and provide a trend for the data. Together with air quality specialists in UCC, the City Council is currently evaluating the accuracy of these sensors. Early data received indicates that under certain atmospheric conditions the purple air sensors are significantly over-estimating the particulate matter count. These sensors will continue to be evaluated throughout 2020 to ascertain if a correction factor needs to be applied to the data going forward.
“In the interim, for a more accurate picture of air quality in Cork, we would direct interested parties to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website where data from four locations within Cork city are available (see http://www.epa.ie/air/quality/data/). These sites host a range of sensors measuring parameters such as Particulate Matter (PM), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Ozone. They are intended for use as reference sensors and provide more accurate results.”
Users of the Purple Air (PM) network are also encouraged to look at the air quality sensor readings hosted on the EPA website for comparison purposes.
The City Council has updated its website to include additional air quality information with relevant links to reports and data associated with air quality.