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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
28 Sep 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
The BErkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network: Field Calibration and Evaluation of Low-cost Air Quality Sensors
Jinsol Kim1, Alexis A. Shusterman2, Kaitlyn J. Lieschke2, Catherine Newman2, and Ronald C. Cohen1,2 1Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2Department of Chemistry, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Abstract. The newest generation of air quality sensors is small, low cost, and easy to deploy. These sensors are an attractive option for developing dense observation networks in support of regulatory activities and scientific research. They are also of interest for use by individuals to characterize their home environment and for citizen science. However, these sensors are difficult to interpret. Although some have an approximately linear response to the target analyte, that response may vary with time, temperature, and/or humidity, and the cross-sensitivity to non-target analytes can be large enough to be confounding. Standard approaches to calibration that are sufficient to account for these variations require a quantity of equipment and labor that negates the attractiveness of the sensors’ low cost. Here we describe a novel calibration strategy for a set of sensors including CO, NO, NO2, and O3 that makes use of multiple co-located sensors, a priori knowledge about the chemistry of NO, NO2, and O3, as well as an estimate of mean emission factors for CO and the global background of CO. The strategy requires one or more well calibrated anchor points within the network domain, but it does not require direct calibration of any of the individual low-cost sensors. The procedure nonetheless accounts for temperature and drift, in both the sensitivity and zero offset. We demonstrate this calibration on a subset of the sensors comprising BEACO2N, a distributed network of approximately 50 sensor “nodes,” each measuring CO2, CO, NO, NO2, O3 and particle matter at 10 second time resolution at approximately 2 km spacing in locations surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area.

Citation: Kim, J., Shusterman, A. A., Lieschke, K. J., Newman, C., and Cohen, R. C.: The BErkeley Atmospheric CO2 Observation Network: Field Calibration and Evaluation of Low-cost Air Quality Sensors, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Jinsol Kim et al.
Jinsol Kim et al.
Jinsol Kim et al.


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