According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, “wood smoke [is] responsible for an average of one-third of the PM in the [Bay Area’s] air basin during the winter months and almost 70% of the PM in Santa Rosa.” Given the importance of wood smoke contributions to PM, STI conducted a 12-week wintertime study in Santa Rosa to
  1. Evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of PM2.5 during the winter in Santa Rosa.
  2. Investigate the representativeness of a single monitor of PM2.5 in Santa Rosa, a city with complex terrain and meteorology.
  3. Demonstrate the usefulness of modest-cost mobile monitoring to address scientific questions about the spatial distribution of PM2.5.
We installed four federal equivalent method Beta Attenuation Monitors (BAMs) in selected neighborhoods and collected air quality data in and around these neighborhoods using a mobile monitor. The results of this work demonstrated
  • The usefulness of mobile monitoring to evaluate the spatial scale of wintertime PM2.5.
  • The large spatial and temporal variability of PM2.5 concentrations within neighborhoods (these variations were not detected by the hourly BAM measurements).
  • High concentrations coincident with the smell of smoke indicate a likely association with local wood burning.