Last February, a researcher did extensive mobile monitoring in parts of the Comox Valley (see our write-up about the study).
The researcher, Matt Wagstaff, has recently distributed a summary of the results from his work in our area (read summary).
Not surprisingly, the results clearly show that older residential neighbourhoods have the highest wood smoke pollution concerns.
It also shows that many of us live in areas that are as bad, if not worse, than the measurements of fine particulates recorded at our fixed air quality monitor near Courtenay Elementary. The summary notes:
“Substantial variation was observed across the routes; measured levels across the Courtenay and Cumberland route were up to two times higher than the levels measured at the station, while levels across the Courtenay and Comox route were up to seven times higher than those measured at the Courtenay station.”
It is important to note that you can’t compare the colours from one map to the other as they are based on different PM2.5 averages (click on maps to enlarge images in new tab). [NOTE: New Comox/Courtenay map added on Oct. 28th as earlier one had inaccuracies].
The darker colours in both represent the worst neighbourhoods within that map, but because the average level of fine particulates were much higher in the Cumberland/Courtenay route map, the darker colours represent higher readings than the same darker colours in the Comox/Courtenay map.
Each map also represents an average of 7 nights of readings. So some nights may have been better or worse than what is shown here. We are hoping when Matt Wagstaff’s final research is complete in early 2018 that we will have access to data from individual nights.