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

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 1937-1946, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-1937-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
06 Apr 2018
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 (1) multiple co-located sensors, (2) a priori knowledge about the chemistry of NO, NO2, and O3, (3) an estimate of mean emission factors for CO, and (4) 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 particulate matter at 10 s time resolution and approximately 2 km spacing within 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., 11, 1937-1946, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-1937-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
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. However, these sensors are difficult to interpret. Here we describe a novel calibration strategy for a set of low cost sensors and demonstrate this calibration on a subset of the sensors comprising BEACO2N, a distributed network at the San Francisco Bay Area.
The newest generation of air quality sensors is small, low cost, and easy to deploy. These...
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