# Insights into the ecosphere with air quality statistics

Find more air quality statistics and information.

How does statistics apply to air quality? What's the use of statistical data in air quality? Let's define the two components of the concept, then put them together to see what we come up with.

You might like the text below as it simplifies complex concepts and highlights their real-world applications.  Professionals and the general public will find it enlightening since it explains how statistical data is crucial to tackling environmental challenges.

In this article, you'll learn about pollution monitoring, emissions tracking, and the importance of evidence-based decision-making in environmental protection.  Readers who care about our planet's health will appreciate its practical approach and emphasis on efficiency.

Let's start with air quality. It can include temperature, motion, pressure, and, most often, the composition of the air.

Composition usually refers to humidity and/or pollution levels.  What about pollution?  Really, potentially-polluting contaminants.

Dust, chemicals, and germs in the air can affect people's health, the environment, or the lives of other living things.  We call it air pollution if it happens a lot.

What about statistics? The field of mathematics that deals with numerical data: how to gather it, how to interpret it, what inferences you can draw.

In addition, we can present it and explain it, and design ways to improve our sampling (data collection) techniques.  Statistics are used in business, government, social sciences like population studies, and physical sciences like chemistry.

Stats about air quality are based on meteorology and pollution, more often.  In environmental studies, air quality statistics are common.

## What kinds of air quality statistics do we need?

Often, oil and gas companies must monitor air quality for contaminants such as H2S, SO2 and NO2 when designing plants and getting government approval.  It outlines methods for measuring air quality, statistics on air quality such as sampling types and frequencies, and results in tabular or graphical format.

They're looking for representative and outlier data points, like "durations and frequencies of non-median events."  Here's a database of air quality for one region:  http://www.casadata.org/ - The public will also be able to access some of this data in other parts of the world.

Many jurisdictions require surface water runoff management plans for new gas plants.  Runoff water from creeks or rivers must be contained using a design that takes terrain, soil characteristics, rainfall data, and any input from neighbours into account.

For example, the Alberta government requires the plant operator to use a runoff management plan when designing the facility.  In addition to soil shape, location, and absorption characteristics, the plan should also consider meteorological statistics (for example, rainfall) and other contamination possibilities.  Surface water goes where it's going and what it does.

## Emissions Inventories

Air quality statistics in Canada are handled by federal agencies, just like in other countries.  The National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) compiles a national database of contaminant releases for internal and authorized uses.

Most countries, including Canada, track greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by major industrial facilities.  Carbon trading programs will probably use this air quality data to establish a baseline.

Air quality statistics are used by professionals who assess leaks and fugitive emissions.  Air quality forecasts, scientific studies, and air monitoring instruments are used.  Data is used to calculate how much pollution is released into the air and what kind of corrective action needs to be taken.

To complete their estimates, we can use the US EPA Method 21.  Here, a hand-held device detects leaks at point sources.  Math can be used to generalize total plant emissions once leaks are counted and classified.

In the case that a plant wants to create their own correlations for each unit for greater precision, they may want to take the results with some skepticism, since the relationship used in one application might not be the same in another.  The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) may provide specific instructions in how to handle these types of evaluations.

## Why bother with statistics?

Another way to use air quality statistics for leak inventorying is with three-stratum emission factors, in which we define three ranges, slot the activity (leaks in this case) into the most appropriate one, then deal with them all together.  For the whole group, we use one equation.

It's faster to get leak rates with leak-rate correlations, and it's generally better at natural gas leak detection than many other methods.  A logarithmic relationship is used to calculate leak rates in mass emitted per unit time.  Published values standardize the quantification process and make it easier to research.

Instead of using values assigned to each plant unit, some facilities use values assigned to each unit.  Improvements in accuracy may or may not be true since consistency of application is harder to assess.  It's also more expensive and inefficient.

The statistical approach helps streamline the operation a lot.  One of the world's biggest data sets is air quality.

Calvin Consulting Group Ltd. can assist you with your data needs.  Please send a message to Barry Lough at this address:

Personally, I specialize in the air dispersion modelling department.

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Stats on air quality: Need some definitions?

What is the meaning of air quality and statistics?

How is the discipline of statistics applicable to air quality studies and practical requirements.

That is what I do on a full-time basis.  Find out if it is necessary for your project.