Wow, HUGE news today regarding air quality reporting in China: China’s National Environmental Monitoring Center has begun reporting hourly air quality data at over 2,000 individual monitoring stations in 113 cities in China. This represents a major development towards information transparency in China, and a key step towards providing residents here with the type of real-time air quality data they need to make healthy decisions regarding personal exposure. The release of this data will also pave the way for vast amounts of future research into the nature of air pollution in China.
In addition to providing data, the site is an extremely valuable resource for general information about China’s air quality, including air quality standards, definition of Air Pollution Index, impacts from air pollutants, main sources, etc. In many ways, the site is a like a very primitive version of the US EPA’s air quality public outreach site, www.airnow.gov. After what has seemed like a frustrating year for air quality in China, this is a wonderful development for which China deserves great credit.
The main address for the site is http://22.214.171.124/air/, with the actual data accessible at http://126.96.36.199/air/air/airtestpage.html. The site is currently exclusively in Chinese, and is developed in Silverlight, which is apparently a Microsoft version of Flash. (I had to download it from Microsoft’s website before I could view the site.) Because of the way the site is structured, it seems impossible to link to individual pages or copy/download data. This is an annoying and frustrating flaw in my opinion, but I’ll take what I can get for now.
I’m sure I will have many, many more posts about this new site and the treasure trove of data that’s available there. For now, though, let me just show a couple of examples of the type of information available:
This chart shows hourly concentrations of SO2, NO2, and PM10 from 7am this morning to noon at the Dongsi monitoring station in downtown Beijing:
This graph shows the hourly PM10 concentrations at that same individual station over the last 48 hours. The red line represents China’s daily air quality standard. The green line shows the previous day’s average.
Again, much more analysis to come, but for now my lunch break’s over and I need to get back to my day job. I’m happy to be bringing this positive report for a change, and look forward to providing more analysis and translation in the near future. In the comments section below, please feel free to ask specific questions about this new service and I’ll do my best to answer them.