Overview

The sections below describe the datasets currently included in the Alberta Air Data Warehouse.

Data collection and submission guidelines are given in the Alberta Air Monitoring Directive.

Reference information such as definitions of program codes and flags are described in the Reference Table file under the Ambient XML Schema section of the following web page: ETS Support and Online Learning: Air

To access data see: Access air quality and deposition data.

Collection Types

Continuous ambient air quality monitors

Continuous monitoring provides nearly instantaneous measurements of pollutant concentrations averaged to a desired frequency (for example, 5-minutes or hourly). Air is drawn through an analyzer calibrated to produce an output that is proportional to the ambient pollutant concentration.

Currently, the Alberta Air Data Warehouse includes continuous monitoring measurements from all ambient air monitoring stations operated by Alberta Airsheds and the Government of Alberta.

Data are available from permanent and portable stations, as well as some mobile/temporary stations, from 1986 to the present. Many of these stations are included in the provincial long-term air quality monitoring network.

Typical parameters monitored: PM2.5, NH3, CO, H2S, NO, NO2, NOx, O3, SO2, TRS, THC, NMHC, CH4

Sampling frequency: Continuous, reported to 1-hour averages

Data availability: One month after the collection month

Precipitation chemistry

Precipitation sampling is used to measure the amount of airborne pollutants, which are captured and deposited by rain or snow falling on the land surface. This measurement – termed wet deposition – provides important information on potential sources of pollutants which can lead to acidification and eutrophication. Precipitation chemistry monitoring stations are part of the provincial long-term deposition monitoring network.

Typical parameters monitored: SO42-, NO3-, Cl-, NH4+, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, PO4-

Sampling frequency: Typically weekly

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

Passive samplers

Passive samplers measure concentrations of ambient air pollutants averaged over time-periods typically of 1 to 2 months. Air pollutants are adsorbed onto a filter or other surface through atmospheric diffusion (that is, a pump is not used to draw air through the sampling medium).

After a defined period of time the sample is collected and undergoes laboratory analysis for the pollutant(s) of concern. The mass of a pollutant collected on the filter and the estimated rate of uptake are used to determine the atmospheric concentration of the pollutant.

The Alberta Air Data Warehouse includes passive sampler data collected by Alberta Airsheds to meet local air monitoring needs.

Typical parameters monitored: SO2, NO2, O3, H2S

Sampling frequency: Typically one to two month averages

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

Hi-Vol

A Hi-Vol collects total suspended particulate (TSP) and may be equipped with a size-selective inlet head for PM10 or PM2.5. The sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Typical parameters monitored: mass of PM (TSP, PM10, or PM2.5), trace metals, elements, ions

Typical sampling frequency: Intermittent/rotating schedule, 24 hour averaging period

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

Filter Based

Filter based sampling collects total suspended particulate (TSP) and may be equipped with a size-selective inlet head for PM10 or PM2.5. The sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Typical parameters monitored: mass of PM (TSP, PM10, or PM2.5), trace metals, elements, ions

Typical sampling frequency: Intermittent/rotating schedule, 24 hour averaging period

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

Dichot

Collects PM in two streams, one for PM10 and one for PM2.5. The sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Typical parameters monitored: mass of PM10 and PM2.5, trace metals, elements, ions

Typical sampling frequency: Intermittent/rotating schedule, 24 hour averaging period

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

Speciation System

Collects total suspended particulate (TSP) and may be equipped with a size-selective inlet head for PM10 or PM2.5. The sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Typical parameters monitored: mass of PM (TSP, PM10, or PM2.5), trace metals, elements, ions, elemental carbon, organic carbon

Typical sampling frequency: Intermittent/rotating schedule, 24 hour averaging period

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

Canister

A whole air sample is drawn into a sampling container or vessel by opening a valve to draw the air into an evacuated canister. The canister is then analyzed in a laboratory for the desired suite of species.

Typical parameters monitored: suites of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and sulphur-containing compounds

Typical sampling frequency: Intermittent/rotating schedule, variable averaging periods (grab samples, 1 hour, 24 hours)

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

PUF Sampler

A sampler equipped with a sorbent cartridge consistent of a sorbent mix including polyurethane foam (PUF). The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Typical parameters monitored: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)

Typical sampling frequency: Intermittent/rotating schedule, with 24 hour averaging period

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development

Dustfall (Bucket)

A bucket collects dust.

Typical parameters monitored: Mass per unit area of dust

Typical sampling frequency: Typically monthly

Data availability: Data download not yet available – under development