Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-11
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-11

  09 Feb 2021

09 Feb 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal AMT and is expected to appear here in due course.

Assessing the sources of particles at an urban background site using both regulatory instruments and low-cost sensors – A comparative study

Dimitrios Bousiotis1, Ajit Singh1, Molly Haugen3, David C. S. Beddows1, Sebastián Diez2, Pete M. Edwards2, Adam Boies3, Roy M. Harrison1, and Francis D. Pope1 Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.
  • 1Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom
  • 2Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
  • 3Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ, United Kingdom

Abstract. Measurement and source apportionment of atmospheric pollutants is crucial for the assessment of air quality and the implementation of policies for its improvement. In most cases, such measurements use expensive regulatory grade instruments, which makes it difficult to achieve wide spatial coverage. Low-cost sensors may provide a more affordable alternative, but their capability and reliability in separating distinct sources of particles have not been tested extensively yet. The present study examines the ability of a low-cost Optical Particle Counter (OPC) to identify the sources of particles and conditions that affect particle concentrations at an urban background site in Birmingham, UK. To help evaluate the results, the same analysis is performed on data from a regulatory-grade instrument (SMPS) and compared to the outcomes from the OPC analysis. The low-cost sensor analysis manages to separate periods and atmospheric conditions according to the level of pollution at the site. It also successfully identifies a number of sources for the observed particles, which were also identified using the regulatory-grade instruments. The low-cost sensor, due to the particle size range measured (0.35 to 40 μm), performed rather well in differentiating sources of particles with sizes greater than 1 μm, though its ability to distinguish their diurnal variation, as well as to separate sources of smaller particles, at the site was limited. The current level of source identification demonstrated makes the technique useful for background site studies, where larger particles with smaller temporal variations are of significant importance. This study highlights the current capability of low-cost sensors in source identification and differentiation using clustering approaches. Future directions towards particulate matter source apportionment using low cost OPCs are highlighted.

Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-11', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Mar 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-11', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Mar 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2021-11', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Mar 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2021-11', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Mar 2021

Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.

Data sets

Research data supporting "Assessing the sources of particles at an urban background site using both regulatory instruments and low-cost sensors – A comparative study" Francis D. Pope and Dimitrios Bousiotis https://doi.org/10.25500/edata.bham.00000584

Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.

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Short summary
Measurement and source apportionment of atmospheric pollutants is crucial for the assessment of air quality and the implementation of policies for its improvement. This study highlights the current capability of low-cost sensors in source identification and differentiation using clustering approaches. Future directions towards particulate matter source apportionment using low cost OPCs are highlighted.