Official Air Quality Sensors

UK Government Coat of Arms

Birmingham City Council has seven sensors across Birmingham, whilst DEFRA has three. The DEFRA sensors can be monitored using Google Earth. Instantaneous levels are given for PM2.5 and PM10 particulates, ozone, and NO₂. PM10, ozone, and NO₂ are graphed, but not PM2.5. The DEFRA sensors show a degree of agreement with the citizen science sensors for PM10, in that the shape of the graphs is similar, but the absolute reading is not necessarily the same. Of course even identical sensors in different locations will show a different absolute reading. However, the DEFRA banding (low to very high) is very much out of step with the limits recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Comparison of the PM10 results (in red) from a DEFRA sensor with two citizen science sensors DEFRA 24 hour mean bands compared with the limits recommended by the WHO
24) DEFRA bands for PM10 particulates cf WHO limits

DEFRA appear to be graphing the instantaneous levels, but both DEFRA and the WHO (very reasonably) refer to 24 hour means with regard to how poor is the air quality. 24 hour rolling means are plotted over a week for the citizen science science sensors, as shown below for Bournbrook.

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Bournbrook PM10 24 Hour Mean (2021-01-09 16:24)

Bournbrook PM10 24 hour mean (2021-01-09 16:24)
This sensor is indicating that the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation (50 µgm⁻³) was exceeded in the latter half of the week.

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Bournbrook PM2.5 24 Hour Mean (2021-01-09 16:24)

Bournbrook PM2.5 24 hour mean (2021-01-09 16:24)
This sensor is indicating that the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation (25 µgm⁻³) was exceeded in the latter half of the week.

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