Mapping pollution exposure and chemistry during an extreme air quality event (the 2018 Kīlauea eruption) using a low-cost sensor network
Author(s)Crawford, Ben; Hagan, David H; Grossman, Ilene; Cole, Elizabeth; Holland, Lacey; Heald, Colette L; Kroll, Jesse H; ... Show more Show less
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Extreme air quality episodes represent a major threat to human health worldwide but are highly dynamic and exceedingly challenging to monitor. The 2018 Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone eruption (May to August 2018) blanketed much of Hawai‘i Island in “vog” (volcanic smog), a mixture of primary volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub>) gas and secondary particulate matter (PM). This episode was captured by several monitoring platforms, including a low-cost sensor (LCS) network consisting of 30 nodes designed and deployed specifically to monitor PM and SO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub> during the event. Downwind of the eruption, network stations measured peak hourly PM<jats:sub>2.5</jats:sub> and SO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub> concentrations that exceeded 75 μg m<jats:sup>−3</jats:sup> and 1,200 parts per billion (ppb), respectively. The LCS network’s high spatial density enabled highly granular estimates of human exposure to both pollutants during the eruption, which was not possible using preexisting air quality measurements. Because of overlaps in population distribution and plume dynamics, a much larger proportion of the island’s population was exposed to elevated levels of fine PM than to SO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub>. Additionally, the spatially distributed network was able to resolve the volcanic plume’s chemical evolution downwind of the eruption. Measurements find a mean SO<jats:sub>2</jats:sub> conversion time of ∼36 h, demonstrating the ability of distributed LCS networks to observe reaction kinetics and quantify chemical transformations of air pollutants in a real-world setting. This work also highlights the utility of LCS networks for emergency response during extreme episodes to complement existing air quality monitoring approaches.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Crawford, Ben, Hagan, David H, Grossman, Ilene, Cole, Elizabeth, Holland, Lacey et al. 2021. "Mapping pollution exposure and chemistry during an extreme air quality event (the 2018 Kīlauea eruption) using a low-cost sensor network." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118 (27).
Final published version