Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-483
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-483

  05 Mar 2021

05 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Calibration and assessment of electrochemical low-cost sensors in remote alpine harsh environments

Federico Dallo1,2, Daniele Zannoni3, Jacopo Gabrieli1, Paolo Cristofanelli4, Francescopiero Calzolari4, Fabrizio de Blasi1, Andrea Spolaor1, Dario Battistel2, Rachele Lodi1, Warren Raymond Lee Cairns1, Ann Mari Fjæraa5, Paolo Bonasoni4, and Carlo Barbante1,2 Federico Dallo et al.
  • 1Institute of Polar Sciences (CNR-ISP), Via Torino, 155, 30172, Venice, ITALY
  • 2University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Dorsoduro 3246, 30123, Venice, ITALY
  • 3Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, NORWAY
  • 4Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (CNR-ISAC), Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, ITALY
  • 5Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Instituttveien 18, 2007 Kjeller, NORWAY

Abstract. The present work presents the results obtained using an original open-source low-cost sensor (LCS) system developed to measure tropospheric O3 in a remote high altitude alpine site. We conducted our study at the Col Margherita Observatory (2543 m a.s.l.), a World Meteorological Organization Global Atmosphere Watch Regional Station, located in the Italian Eastern Alps. The sensing system mounts three equivalent commercial low-cost sensors that have been calibrated using a laboratory standard (Thermo 49iPS), referenced to the Standard Reference Photometer #15 calibration scale by the WMO, before field deployment. Intra and inter-comparison between sensors and reference (Thermo 49c) have been conducted for seven months from May to December 2018. The sensors required an individual calibration, both in laboratory and in the field. The sensor's dependence on the environmental meteorological variables has been considered and discussed. The evaluation of the analytical performances of this sensing system provides an LOD < 5 ppb, LOQ < 17 ppb, LDR up to 250 ppb, intra-Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC) up to 0.96, inter-PCC > 0.8, bias > 3.5 ppb and ±8.5 at 95 % of confidence. Thanks to the first implementation of an LCS System in an alpine site, it has been demonstrated how it is possible to obtain valuable data from a low-cost instrument in a remote environment. This opens new perspectives for the adoption of a low-cost sensor network in atmospheric sciences.

Federico Dallo et al.

Status: open (until 30 Apr 2021)

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Federico Dallo et al.

Federico Dallo et al.

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Short summary
Our work showed how the adoption of low-cost technology could be useful in environmental research and monitoring. We focused our work on tropospheric ozone, but we showed also how to make a general purpose low-cost sensing system which may be adapted and optimised to be used in many other case studies. Given the importance of providing data quality, we putted a lot of effort in sensors' calibration and we believe that our results show how to exploit the potential of the low-cost technology.