Recently I participated in a webinar with the EPA on using its community air quality modeling tools—C-Tools. This is a great set of tools for researchers, planners, architects and others interested in environmental issues (especially citizen science folks!). One tool allows you to work with mapping near-road air quality while the other allows for scenarios concerning ports. Here’s some highlights:
- Community Line Source Model (roadways)
- Local air quality due to mobile sources in region
- Computes dispersion of primary mobile source pollutants using meteorological conditions for the region of interest
- Can adjust variables for traffic type (diesel trucks), wind etc. for “what if” scenarios
- Community modeling system for Near-Port
- Select port of interest
- Look at terminal pollution, rail, traffic, shipping lanes, ship docking locations, point-source emissions
These tools are interesting because you can play with different scenarios like increasing diesel truck traffic, adding your own known point-source emissions or even overlaying results over other maps. The EPA is hoping to add another tool for analyzing airports, which should add an even larger piece to the air quality puzzle. What I like most about these tools is that they are designed for common people rather than experts, empowering all people to understand their own exposure. For those who are ready to take the next step in understanding air quality, consider doing an Arduino project. We have a gas sensor for indoor carbon monoxide and natural gas leakage detection, but don’t use it to replace professional equipment in your house. Making can be great, but nothing tops safety.
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