Air Quality News
By: Joseph Hewitt and Timothy Duda, Air Quality Team
The Air Quality program at the National Weather Service
Forecast Office in Caribou continues to pick up the pace. This season we
decided to become more familiar with how air quality is measured.
We met with Lee Thomas, Environmental Specialist with the
Maine Department of Environmental Protection in Presque Isle in July. Lee took
us on a tour of the different monitoring sites across Northern Maine
that MDEP monitors for air quality. These monitoring sites measure particle
pollution ranging from soot and sulfur dioxide to dust particles.
The first site we visited was the monitoring site that
stands in the backyard of the MDEP property in Presque Isle. This site is a
non-continuous monitoring site. The sample is measured every 6 days.
Photo: An Air Quality Monitor
The next site we visited was across from Riverside
Park in Presque Isle. This site is
very useful because the city of Presque Isle
can monitor the data daily and make appropriate decisions, especially in
regards to road work. This is especially important during the winter season
with sanding and salting operations.
The final site we went to visit was up in the Saint
John Valley in the
town of Madawaska. This site is
unique in that there are two monitoring sites. Each monitor measures a
different size sample. We found out that these monitors across Northern
Maine also measure temperatures and relative humidity. This data
can be very useful to a forecaster. We had the great opportunity of watching
Lee Thomas perform the maintenance on the different monitors. Lee demonstrated
how the monitors worked and the samples were collected and tested.
There is also a monitor in Ashland
which measures ozone. We hope to get the opportunity to visit this monitor
sometime in the future. This trip gave us a deeper appreciation of how the air
quality is monitored around the state of Maine.
To find out more about the air quality program in the state
of Maine, you can visit the Maine
Department of Environmental Protection web site at www.maine.gov/dep/air. The National
Weather Service Forecast Office provides meteorological support The National
Weather Service Forecast Office in Caribou continues its partnership with the
Maine Department of Environmental Protection. We are eager to build on this
We would like to thank Lee Thomas for taking time out of his
busy schedule to take us around to the different monitoring sites. We are
planning in upcoming articles to provide you with seasonal and annual trends
across Northern and Downeast Maine
in conjunction with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
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