Development of a Network of Accurate Ozone Sensing Nodes for Parallel Monitoring in a Site Relocation Study

Recent technological advances in both air sensing technology and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity have enabled the development and deployment of remote monitoring networks of air quality sensors. The compact size and low power requirements of both sensors and IoT data loggers allow for the development of remote sensing nodes with power and connectivity versatility. With these technological advancements, sensor networks can be developed and deployed for various ambient air monitoring applications. This paper describes the development and deployment of a monitoring network of accurate ozone (O3) sensor nodes to provide parallel monitoring in an air monitoring site relocation study. The reference O3 analyzer at the station along with a network of three O3 sensing nodes was used to evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of O3 across four Southern California communities in the San Bernardino Mountains which are currently represented by a single reference station in Crestline, CA. The motivation for developing and deploying the sensor network in the region was that the single reference station potentially needed to be relocated due to uncertainty that the lease agreement would be renewed. With the implication of siting a new reference station that is also a high O3 site, the project required the development of an accurate and precise sensing node for establishing a parallel monitoring network at potential relocation sites. The deployment methodology included a pre-deployment co-location calibration to the reference analyzer at the air monitoring station with post-deployment co-location results indicating a mean absolute error (MAE) < 2 ppb for 1-h mean O3 concentrations. Ordinary least squares regression statistics between reference and sensor nodes during post-deployment co-location testing indicate that the nodes are accurate and highly correlated to reference instrumentation with R2 values > 0.98, slope offsets < 0.02, and intercept offsets < 0.6 for hourly O3 concentrations with a mean concentration value of 39.7 ± 16.5 ppb and a maximum 1-h value of 94 ppb. Spatial variability for diurnal O3 trends was found between locations within 5 km of each other with spatial variability between sites more pronounced during nighttime hours. The parallel monitoring was successful in providing the data to develop a relocation strategy with only one relocation site providing a 95% confidence that concentrations would be higher there than at the current site.