Earlier today, I posted the fantastic news about the beginning of real-time air quality reporting in Chinese cities. Because the site is currently in Chinese only, I’ve quickly translated the first few splash pages here:
The China National Environmental Monitoring Center is a government-affiliated supporting research institution (事业单位) directly administered by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. It includes the national environmental monitoring technology center, network center, data center, quality center, and training center. The primary responsibilities are national environmental monitoring and environmental monitoring technology development, in order to provide monitoring information, reports, and technical support to guide national environmental management and policy.”
The real-time reporting system for air quality in key cities automatically reports measured ambient data for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and inhalable particles. Hourly average data are presented for both individual monitors and entire cities. Data for individual monitors represent the average over the previous complete hour; for example, the data for 4pm represent the average value from 3pm to 4pm. Data for a city represent the arithmetic average of all stations in that city.
The data in the system are updated once per hour. Because the data transfer requires some time, there is currently a reporting lag of half an hour. For example, the data for 3pm will be reported at 3:30pm. When the monitoring equipment is undergoing calibration or encounters some communication or power error, there may be no data for that corresponding station.”
In accordance with the technical standard requirements of air quality monitoring, the air quality automatic monitoring data must be audited before it can be considered as part of an air quality assessment. However, in order to fulfill the public’s right to know in a timely manner, this system automatically reports the real-time data before they have been audited.
The source of data in this system is national-level ambient air quality automatic monitoring stations, not including local-level automatic monitoring stations.”
– The real-time reporting system for air quality in key cities reports the hourly average concentrations of three types of pollutants – SO2, NO2, and PM10 – for the entire city and at each monitoring station.
– The daily air quality report that has been in place since the year 2000 reports the 24-hour average air quality for key cities. In order to fulfill the need of afternoon air quality reporting by the media, the calculation for the daily report covers data from noon on the previous day to noon on the current day. After the average daily concentrations of each pollutant are calculated, they are converted to an Air Pollution Index (API), which can be easily understood by the public.
– Because the API is based on a 24-hour average of each pollutant, China, like many countries, currently does not provide an hourly API. Therefore, the real-time reporting system will only report the hourly concentration of each pollutant. The 24-hour averages will still be used for the daily API calculation.”