Bridging the Divide between Air Quality Monitoring, Management and Policy in the Sea-to-Sky Airshed: A method for analyzing and interpreting large volume air quality data for management and policy guidance

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: Air pollution has increasingly been the focus of management and policy efforts since the early 1950s. Networks of monitoring stations for data to inform, create, focus, assess and improve air pollution management and policy. However, monitoring systems can become disconnected from air quality management and policy without analysis and interpretation to bridge the divide. This thesis develops a method of analyzing and interpreting large volume air quality data into key air pollutant trends and characteristics to guide air quality management and policy. The method is applied to air quality data between 2002 and 2013 in the Sea-to-Sky Airshed, located in south-western British Columbia, Canada. At the time of study, this airshed contained a monitoring system that had been growing increasingly disconnected from the airshed’s air quality management and policy. Applying this method uncovered significant instances of inaccurate and missing air quality data, and identified the airshed’s key pollutant trends and characteristics. These findings were then used to create recommendations for improving the resource efficiency and quality of the airshed’s monitoring, management and policy. Also identified were applications of R and R’s OpenAir package which are estimated to significantly reduce analysis time and offer additional analysis options.

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