Air Quality Monitors

The City of Courtenay has installed 9 PurpleAir monitors on public buildings across the city, adding to the growing network of privately and publicly installed monitors across the Comox Valley. By increasing the number of air monitoring locations, residents can learn more about how PM2.5 concentrations vary in their area over time.    

PurpleAir monitors are inexpensive air quality sensors that use laser particle detectors to measure PM2.5 concentrations in the air. Measurements from these sensors are uploaded every 10 minutes.

The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has endorsed the use of PurpleAir monitors and has created data management tools to include measurements from these devices in the provincial air monitoring dataset.

How can I learn more about the PM2.5 measurements in my area?

The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Atmospheric Sciences program hosts an online interactive map showing hourly PM2.5 measurements: UNBC Hourly PM2.5 Observations map

Additional background:

  • PurpleAir monitors are sensitive to humidity, so a correction factor is applied to the readings that appear on the UNBC map.
  • This correction factor allows the readings to be directly compared to the BC Air Quality Objectives and the data from the provincial air monitoring station.
  • A history of measurements from any monitor can be viewed as a graph. Click on the monitoring icon, and then choose “plot time series” to see how the measurements vary over time.
  • Uncorrected data is available from the PurpleAir map.

How can I monitor air quality in my neighborhood?

If you would like to participate in PM2.5 air monitoring, consider expanding our local network by installing your own PurpleAir Monitor! The sensors can be purchased directly from PurpleAir, and require a USB power source and access to wireless internet.