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 partnership.                                         

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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