Air quality monitoring

 Let's go back in time to January 2020, when bushfires ravaged Australia. I live in an agricultural area, so there isn't much left to burn, but the smoke from the mountains was terrible and lasted for weeks. This is how it looked.



We wanted to know how dangerous this was, but air quality monitoring in Australia is pretty much focused on city areas. We don't count, apparently. So we decided to do it ourselves, and contribute to citizen science at the same time.

Here's our PurpleAir sensor, bought from the manufacturer in Utah, USA. We chose an indoor one because we don't have any outdoor power connection. Our house leaks like a sieve anyway so it doesn't make much difference.


The sensor is the little white computer-mouse like object with the green light on the top (it goes orange or red when the air is bad). We put it on a silicon mat because it gets quite hot. The sensor sends data every few minutes by wifi to a server and from there to PurpleAir who include the data on their map in real time.


Our sensor is there, northeast of Wagga Wagga, showing a reading of 44 inside a black circle. That's the current air quality in Cootamundra. There's a lot of smoke around today as people are doing hazard reduction burns. Melbourne looks good though, mostly green. Green is good.

Visit purpleair.com to see the world map and just how terrible air quality is some places.

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