Air Quality Monitoring2021-09-07T14:56:46-04:00

Air Quality Monitoring

Purple Air Quality Monitor

Look closely around the pavilion on Tremont’s campus and you may spot this little air quality monitor.

This little device is one of thousands installed around the US and abroad that measures air quality and uploads it in real time. Learn more about how this air quality monitor works.

Why Does It Matter?

Recently we have seen an increase in fire intensity across the US, an increase in park visitation (and thus vehicle exhaust) in the Smokies, and changes in the management and use of coal-fired power plants within our communities. How will these changes affect the air quality of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? What patterns can we observe that link external sources of air pollution or their mitigation to our homes or local protected spaces? Explore the interactive air quality map.

Greater coverage for air quality monitoring will allow us to keep track of changes in air quality and data can be used to inform policies and management decisions that promote improved air quality for our communities — human and otherwise.

How Can You Get Involved?

You can buy and install your own Purple Air monitor near your home or (with permission) place of work. You simply need a wifi connection and a place to plug in the device.

You can familiarize yourself with the parameters used in the map of monitors. In the lower-left side, be sure to set the Conversion to “US EPA,” as this automatically adjusts the raw reading to align with more precise monitoring tools. Set the Map Data Layer to “Raw pm 2.5 ug/m2” to access the fine particulate matter readings. What patterns do you notice in your region? Do they change over time? Can you connect your air quality readings to events occurring nearby or even across the country?

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