Statement on the low-cost sensors for atmospheric composition

The development and use of low-cost sensors to monitor reactive air pollutants, particulate matter and greenhouse gases is accelerating. It is a tool leveraged in academic research and regulatory surveillance and is used by individuals, governments and businesses to serve the public. In line with this growing popularity, the Statement on the Low-cost Sensors for Atmospheric Composition virtual event, organized by Global Atmosphere Watch Programme (GAW) on 16 February, launched a new report: An update on low-cost sensors for the measurement of atmospheric composition. The original report, published by WMO in 2018, was fully revised in this edition to update new scholarly understanding of low-cost sensors that have been published in the peer-reviewed literature.

Highlights from the report include:

  • a summary and methodological description of many of the most common measurement techniques used by the low-cost sensors currently available.
  • an emphasis that low-cost sensors are not a direct substitute for reference instruments, especially for purposes of mandatory monitoring, but are being used successfully complementarily to reference monitoring as a qualitative source of atmospheric composition data.
  • a summary of strategies to consider when communicating on low-cost sensors, its data and its impact on society.

The report was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) and International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Project.

The recordings and presentations from the virtual event and the updated report are available here.

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