Assessing the effectiveness of low-cost air quality monitors for identifying volcanic SO2 and PM downwind from Masaya volcano, Nicaragua

Rachel C.W. Whitty*, Melissa A. Pfeffer, Evgenia Ilyinskaya, Tjarda J. Roberts, Anja Schmidt, Sara Barsotti, Wilfried Strauch, Leigh R. Crilley, Francis D. Pope, Harold Bellanger, Elvis Mendoza, Tamsin A. Mather, Emma J. Liu, Nial Peters, Isabelle A. Taylor, Hilary Francis, Xochilt Hernández Leiva, Dave Lynch, Sébastien Nobert, Peter Baxter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Gas and particulate matter (PM) emissions from Masaya volcano, Nicaragua, cause substantial regional volcanic air pollution (VAP). We evaluate the suitability of low-cost SO2and PM sensors for a continuous air-quality network. The network was deployed for six months in five populated areas (4-16 km from crater). The SO2sensors failed and recorded erroneous values on multiple occasions, likely due to corrosion, requiring significant maintenance commitment. The PM sensors were found to be robust but data required correction for humidity. SO2measurements could not be used as stand-alone tools to detect occurrence of VAP episodes (VAPE), but an SO2/PM correlation reliably achieved this at near-field stations, as confirmed by meteorological forecasts and satellite imagery. Abovebackground PM concentrations reliably identified VAPE at both near-field and far-field stations. We suggest that a continuous network can be built from a combination of low-cost PM and SO2sensors with a greater number of PM-only sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-59
Number of pages27
JournalVolcanica
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the effectiveness of low-cost air quality monitors for identifying volcanic SO2 and PM downwind from Masaya volcano, Nicaragua'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this