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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-109
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-109
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Apr 2019

Research article | 11 Apr 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

A low-cost monitor for measurement of fine particulate matter and aerosol optical depth – Part 2: Citizen science pilot campaign in northern Colorado

Bonne Ford1, Jeffrey R. Pierce1, Eric Wendt2, Marilee Long3, Shantanu Jathar2, John Mehaffy2, Jessica Tryner2, Casey Quinn2,4, Lizette van Zyl2, Christian L'Orange2, Daniel Miller-Lionberg5, and John Volckens2 Bonne Ford et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • 3Department of Journalism and Media Communication, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • 4Department of Environmental & Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 8052, USA
  • 5Access Sensor Technologies Fort Collins, CO 80524, USA

Abstract. A pilot field campaign was conducted in the fall and winter of 2017 in northern Colorado to test the deployment of the Aerosol Mass and Optical Depth (AMOD) instrument as part of the Citizen-Enabled Aerosol Measurements for Satellites (CEAMS) network. Citizen scientists were recruited to set up the device to take filter and optical measurements of aerosols in their backyards. The goal of the network is to provide more surface particulate matter and aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements to increase the spatial and temporal resolution of PM2.5 to AOD ratios and to improve satellite-based estimates of air quality. Participants collected 65 filters and 160 multi-wavelength AOD measurements from which 109 successful PM2.5 to AOD ratios were calculated. We show that PM2.5, AOD, and their ratio (PM2.5:AOD) often vary substantially over relatively short spatial scales; this spatial variation is not typically resolved by satellite- and model-based PM2.5 exposure estimates. The success of the pilot campaign suggests that citizen-science networks are a viable means for providing new insight into surface air quality. We also discuss lessons learned and AMOD design modifications, which will be used in future, wider deployments of the CEAMS network.

Bonne Ford et al.
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Short summary
This study demonstrates the use of a low-cost sensor in a citizen science network, Citizen-Enabled Aerosol Measurements for Satellites (CEAMS), to measure air quality in participants’ backyards. The pilot network was conducted in the fall and winter of 2017 in northern Colorado. Measurements of aerosols taken by the citizens are also compared to standard air quality instruments.
This study demonstrates the use of a low-cost sensor in a citizen science network,...
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