EGU22-12342, updated on 05 May 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Local Physical Chemistry Statements for Low cost sensor added value

Janice Scheffler1, Massimo Vieno1, Michael Flynn2, Stuart Lacy3, Sebastian Diez3, Francis D. Pope4, Pete Edwards3, and Christine F. Braban1
Janice Scheffler et al.
  • 1UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Peniciuk, United Kingdom
  • 2University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 3University of York, York, United Kingdom
  • 4University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Air quality monitoring with a high spatial and temporal resolution is essential to understand the sources, processes, and impacts of air quality (AQ) on human health and the environment, especially in densely populated urban areas. Current state-of-the-art instruments don’t allow for such a high spatial resolution AQ monitoring due to costs. Low cost sensors (LCS) provide an opportunity to bridge this divide. There is a large volume of research papers assessing the performance of LCS for particulate matter (PM) against reference PM instrumentation.  Across most studies, a general observation is that LCS PM sensors as offered by the commercial and research markets have an inherent problem with accuracy at high relative humidities and for varying PM composition.

This study uses measured and modelled chemical composition of PM2.5  at the  Manchester UK urban supersite to addresses the underlying physical chemistry which leads to the mass of the measured PM. Measurements from LCS and reference PM instruments co-located with state-of-the-art research chemical composition and meteorology. To calculate the composition of PM2.5, we used XACT for metals, the ACSM for salt ion concentrations, and an Aethalometer for Black Carbon. From this, the LCSs variability in data can be understood.  We present a comparison of LCS PM2.5 concentrations with measured and calculated total PM2.5 concentrations from reference instruments for time periods with different Air Quality characteristics and discuss the physico-chemical characteristics leading to varying results of low cost PM sensors. The future research will apply methodology to modelled UK wide data and develop tools for non specialist users to understand LCS in terms of local air pollution and specifically PM2.5 chemical composition and meteorology.

How to cite: Scheffler, J., Vieno, M., Flynn, M., Lacy, S., Diez, S., Pope, F. D., Edwards, P., and Braban, C. F.: Local Physical Chemistry Statements for Low cost sensor added value, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12342,, 2022.


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