Interersting State Based Air Quality Tool

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Postby Harley » Tue May 01, 2007 8:27 am

I found some of the data here somewhat interesting. I appologize if this is linked somewhere else, and I can't seem to find where the data was collected or who collected it, or for what purpose. Unfortunately they include all "fuel burning" together (fires, gas, oil), You change the graph for type of pollution, and by state.

http://www.k12science.org/curriculum/ai ... ercentPM25
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Postby FriendofAir » Tue May 01, 2007 9:27 am

Very nice, interesting and fun to use! I think it deserves its own post or maybe a sticky.

I wish you could use it to zoom down to the neighborhood level.
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Postby Harley » Tue May 01, 2007 2:17 pm

Again.... I don't know how reliable the statistics are, but its certainly seems to indicate that the particulate pollution, as well as most of the other types of pollution measured is not significantly caused by heating (combined oil, gas, wood), but largely power generation, vehicles, and "other". It was interesting to see the differences in various states.
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Postby FriendofAir » Tue May 01, 2007 3:36 pm

If the statistics are based geographically on the whole state, the negative health effects upon a population are not as discernible.

The effect of these pollutants on a local level, or even a micro level would be far more illustrative. I would gather that nighttime air in a typical residential/suburban area would be impacted less by power generation and vehicles and more by heating. Further, I would hazard that the air quality would be somewhat cleaner in a neighborhood that relies on natural gas or electricity for heating than oil, coal or wood.

Hopefully, in the near future something allowing us to zoom in on neighborhoods or even individual buildings (like Google Earth) will provide us additional and more specific pollution source data.
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Postby Harley » Tue May 01, 2007 7:18 pm

FriendofAir wrote:If the statistics are based geographically on the whole state, the negative health effects upon a population are not as discernible.

The effect of these pollutants on a local level, or even a micro level would be far more illustrative. I would gather that nighttime air in a typical residential/suburban area would be impacted less by power generation and vehicles and more by heating. Further, I would hazard that the air quality would be somewhat cleaner in a neighborhood that relies on natural gas or electricity for heating than oil, coal or wood.

Hopefully, in the near future something allowing us to zoom in on neighborhoods or even individual buildings (like Google Earth) will provide us additional and more specific pollution source data.


I certainly agree with a lot of what you have said, FoA, in that more specific area data would help to pinpoint where the problems come from. However, if one community is cleaner, because they rely on electric heating (maybe from a coal-powered gen. station, maybe a few hundred miles away), doesn't the community near the power plant now suffer because of the emissions from the plant?

In this area, there is no chance of NG being brought here, probably for many generations. Electric power (which is provided by a multi-source gen station - coal - I believe right now) is WAY to expensive to heat most homes. So that basically leaves, oil, or wood (yes, solar, wind may be alternatives for individuals)

I guess the problem ends up being "snapshots" of different communities. Personally, I'm pretty OK with burning the wood stove, which I know is very clean and efficient, and I'm not choking my neighbors out at all. I think that's a lot better than running the oil burner for heat, which requires electricity too.

It's very easy to micro-manage things - looking at the whole picture does take a lot of work.
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Postby FriendofAir » Wed May 02, 2007 9:06 am

Harley wrote:
It's very easy to micro-manage things - looking at the whole picture does take a lot of work.

I do not think the issue of particulate pollution can be solved using the big picture approach.

Solutions that discourage burning wood in Southern California for novelty sake will not lend themselves well to colder climates that have a far greater need for heat energy.

My big picture opinion is that this debate will somewhat mimic the evolution of our knowledge of cigarette smoke. It will take a long time but overall consciousness will evolve and continue the trend that smoke in the atmosphere, particularly around population centers is not desirable and more harmful than previously thought.
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