Manchester’s Air Quality Supersite

In 2019, NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) funded a large project involving 3 sites which measured the local air quality. The 3 sites are based at the University of Birmingham, the University of Manchester and Kings College in London and are all named air quality ‘supersites.’  Air Quality Supersites can be found all over the world, including USA, China and Taiwan. They are used by scientists and governments to test new and upcoming air quality equipment as well as enhancing the standard air quality systems found throughout each country.

In addition, the supersites allow researchers to gather long term and intensive, higher-quality data on harmful urban air pollution. The data can help determine the source of the pollution as well as its evolution in the atmosphere.  The supersites will include a range of advanced instruments to measure the size and physical properties of particles, and identify volatile organic chemicals, nitrogen and sulfur oxides and greenhouse gases. In addition, detailed meteorological information will be collected along with new measurements of vehicle emissions under real-world conditions. All the data generated will be open-access and, for most measurements, will be available to the public via a website in real-time.

NERC – the Natural Environment Research Council – is the driving force of investment in environmental science in the UK. NERC advances the frontier of environmental science by commissioning new research, infrastructure and training that delivers valuable scientific breakthroughs. 

In the UK, the Manchester supersite is located in Fallowfield on the University campus. It houses a large number of different analysers all measuring either gases or particulate matter (pm).  Air Monitors has helped to support these sites over the years by providing instruments in all 3 UK sites, The Cooper XACT, The Magee AE33 and the Palas Fidas. These are all aerosol monitoring instruments which look at either heavy metals, black carbon or ambient PM levels.  

Dr Nicholas Marsden who is the Experimental Officer at the University of Manchester said 

‘We have been pleased with the instrument performance and have obtained particularly interesting results for traffic emissions (and others) over the lock-down period.’

‘The monitors were also able to provide interesting data on the Moorland fire which happened in April, several miles away.’  This fire affected 5 kms of moorland and required 8 fire trucks to battle the blaze generating lots of smoke and pollution dispersing across the region.

About Manchester Supersite

Funding was announced at the launch of two Manchester-based research projects to help tackle air pollution; one being the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) air quality supersite. 

The NERC supersite – one of three being established in the UK – will make continuous measurements of air quality at a higher level of detail than is provided by existing monitoring stations. Dr James Allan, a researcher at The University of Manchester said: “The measurements will help us to better understand air pollution in UK cities, in terms of the sources of pollution and the processes by which it evolves in the atmosphere.”

About Air Monitors 

As part of the ACOEM group, Air Monitors represent many of the world’s leading environmental technology manufacturers. Our aim is to provide monitoring solutions which encompass the very best products, technology and services designed specifically for British & European Environmental compliance.

About the Cooper XACT 625i

Cooper Environmental’s Xact® 625i is designed for high time resolution multi-metals monitoring of ambient air, with detection limits that rival those of laboratory analysis. The Xact® 625i comes standard with a solid-state meteorological sensor and Cooper Environmental’s proprietary ADAPT analysis package, making the instrument one of the most powerful air pollution source detection offerings in the industry.

About the Magee AE33

The Aethalometer® is an instrument that uses optical analysis to determine the mass concentration of Black Carbon particles collected from an air stream passing through a filter. These particles are directly emitted to the air during all combustion, but are primarily associated with coal or diesel smoke. They adversely affect public health; contribute to local and global climate change; and reduce visibility. Aethalometers are used by air-quality monitoring programs; public-health protection agencies; research laboratories; and community groups. 

About The Palas Fidas

FIDAS stands for Fine Dust Analysis System and FIDAS stands up above the rest as the most advanced optical particle spectrometer for ambient PM monitoring.  The Model 100 is the entry level system without certification and designed for use in research and industrial projects where compliance with EU and UK legislation is not required. The model 100 can be supplied with our without the IADS sampling system which is used for ensure that moisture does not affect the measurements of the PM concentration.  Data is available for TSP(total suspended particulates), PM10, PM4.0, PM2.5,  PM1 and Pn (particle number) as well as size distribution data over the range of 0.18  to 18 microns. Options to extend to 100 microns are available.