Geography & Environment Publications

Spatial Modeling for Air Pollution Monitoring Network Design: Example of residential woodsmoke

Document Type


Publication Date







Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association

First Page


Last Page



The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how to develop an air pollution monitoring network to characterize small-area spatial contrasts in ambient air pollution concentrations. Using residential woodburning emissions as our case study, this paper reports on the first three stages of a four-stage protocol to measure, estimate, and validate ambient residential woodsmoke emissions in Vancouver, British Columbia. The first step is to develop an initial winter nighttime woodsmoke emissions surface using inverse-distance weighting of emissions information from consumer woodburning surveys and property assessment data. Second, fireplace density and a compound topographic index based on hydrological flow regimes are used to enhance the emissions surface. Third, the spatial variation of the surface is used in a location-allocation algorithm to design a network of samplers for the woodsmoke tracer compound levoglucosan and fine particulate matter. Measurements at these network sites are then used in the fourth stage of the protocol (not presented here): a mobile sampling campaign aimed at developing a high-resolution surface of woodsmoke concentrations for exposure assignment in health effects studies. Overall the results show that relatively simple data inputs and spatial analysis can be effective in capturing the spatial variability of ambient air pollution emissions and concentrations.

Find in your library