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Sensors 2017, 17(8), 1805; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17081805

Assessing the Utility of Low-Cost Particulate Matter Sensors over a 12-Week Period in the Cuyama Valley of California

1
Sonoma Technology Inc., 1450 N. McDowell Blvd., Suite 200, Petaluma, CA 94954, USA
2
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Sensors: A New Class of Tools to Measure Air Quality)
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Abstract

The use of low-cost air quality sensors has proliferated among non-profits and citizen scientists, due to their portability, affordability, and ease of use. Researchers are examining the sensors for their potential use in a wide range of applications, including the examination of the spatial and temporal variability of particulate matter (PM). However, few studies have quantified the performance (e.g., accuracy, precision, and reliability) of the sensors under real-world conditions. This study examined the performance of two models of PM sensors, the AirBeam and the Alphasense Optical Particle Counter (OPC-N2), over a 12-week period in the Cuyama Valley of California, where PM concentrations are impacted by wind-blown dust events and regional transport. The sensor measurements were compared with observations from two well-characterized instruments: the GRIMM 11-R optical particle counter, and the Met One beta attenuation monitor (BAM). Both sensor models demonstrated a high degree of collocated precision (R2 = 0.8–0.99), and a moderate degree of correlation against the reference instruments (R2 = 0.6–0.76). Sensor measurements were influenced by the meteorological environment and the aerosol size distribution. Quantifying the performance of sensors in real-world conditions is a requisite step to ensuring that sensors will be used in ways commensurate with their data quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: low-cost sensors; performance evaluation; air quality monitoring; pollution; particulate matter low-cost sensors; performance evaluation; air quality monitoring; pollution; particulate matter
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Mukherjee, A.; Stanton, L.G.; Graham, A.R.; Roberts, P.T. Assessing the Utility of Low-Cost Particulate Matter Sensors over a 12-Week Period in the Cuyama Valley of California. Sensors 2017, 17, 1805.

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