The Dirt That Hurts: Monitoring Harmful Particulate Matter

Category: Assessing Air Quality & Water Resources
Project Team: Maricopa County Health & Air Quality
Team Location: Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona

Maricopa and Pinal County AOD measurements with PM monitor locations overlaid. Image Credit: Maricopa County Health and Air Quality Team

Maricopa and Pinal County AOD measurements with PM monitor locations overlaid. Image Credit: Maricopa County Health and Air Quality Team

Authors:
Jason Hodgson
Leslie Araujo
Tamara Dunbarr

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. David Hondula (Arizona State University)

Past/Other Contributors:
Lance Watkins (Center Lead)

Abstract:

One of the most prevalent issues with air quality monitoring is the lack of distribution of sampling sites that gather data regarding particulate matter (PM) concentrations in the surrounding environment. By using data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua and Terra satellites, the project constructed a mixed model to provide a significantly high correlation between aerosol optical depth (AOD) and particulate matter of 10 micrometers in diameter and smaller (PM10) concentrations. Due to the mixed model’s use of additional periodic variables – such as meteorological and environmental factors – the model can be used in conjunction with satellite data in the absence of ground-based monitors to present a better picture of the air quality in Maricopa County, Arizona. By employing such a model, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Maricopa County Air Quality Department can apply the model data to future epidemiological research, policymaking, environmental justice analyses and other important processes and decisions regarding air quality and public health improvements. The products, of the Maricopa County Health & Air Quality project, are ultimately intended to benefit the Maricopa County community by contributing to the area of public health and potentially even influencing future changes and the overall development of the county.

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