Air Quality

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This lesson explores the things we can all do to improve our air quality.
Peter Sperlich needs a strong south-westerly and a cast iron stomach for his next scientific mission.
Once a year, technicians from NIWA’s North Island Field Team don helmets and head lamps to check a network of CO2 sensors in the world-renowned Waitomo Caves. The sensors help make sure that heavy breathing visitors aren’t wrecking the caves’ precious natural structures and microclimate.
Changes in NZ air quality during COVID-19 level 3 restrictions. Update: Thursday 10th September 2020.
Some of the most striking images of lockdown around the world have been the blue skies of cities ordinarily choking in smog. From New Delhi to Los Angeles, Beijing to Paris, the changes were so remarkable they were visible from space.
This page gives background to the CONA project and details of work being undertaken across New Zealand in winter 2020.
NIWA scientists have set up air quality sensors every 100 metres across Arrowtown in what is believed to be the world’s densest air monitoring network.
Animations showing wind conditions and air quality over 24-hour periods across study towns during winter 2020.
Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley.

Changes in NZ air quality during COVID-19 level 3 restrictions.

Air quality update for Friday 15th May 2020. End of level 3 restrictions.

NIWA provides ambient air quality monitoring services using low-cost ODIN (Outdoor Dust Information Node) sensors.  

NIWA scientists are seeking help to sniff out smoke in a bid to help improve air quality in New Zealand.
Traffic pollution measurements in Auckland since Level 4 restrictions were eased on Tuesday have shown levels soaring even higher than those before lockdown, NIWA air quality scientists say.
Changes in NZ air quality due to COVID-19 level 4 lockdown. Air quality update 7 for Tuesday 28 April 2020. End of level 4 restrictions.
Changes in NZ air quality due to COVID-19 level 4 lockdown Update 6 – fourth full week of level 4 restrictions for Thursday 23rd April 2020
A blob of smoke from the Australian bushfires is continuing to circle the globe almost four months after it formed.
Pollution levels in our main cities are continuing to fall as a result of the nationwide lockdown, says NIWA.
In week 3 levels of oxides of nitrogen (or NOx, representing mainly vehicle exhaust pollutants) in our major cities fell even further, with reductions of 83 – 91 % relative to normal at most sites.
How is smoke from wood-burning affecting you, your home or your neighbourhood?
The large reductions in traffic pollution in our major cities seen during week 1 of lockdown have been maintained during week 2.
NIWA scientists say air quality has dramatically improved in Auckland since the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown was instigated.
Researchers at NIWA’s Lauder atmospheric research station in Central Otago have measured prolonged carbon monoxide concentrations well above normal levels.
The first month of data from NIWA’s air quality monitoring project in Arrowtown reveals that air quality has already breached the national standard eight times this winter, including six times in the week from 19 to 26 June – in fact every time the air temperature dropped below freezing.
NIWA worked with Year 8 students at Arrowtown School to analyse, visualise and communicate air quality data.


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