Many experts confirm that modelling results correspond to a simplified image of reality, given the theoretical approximations inherent to the mathematical model used, and the uncertainty that surrounds the characterization of emission sources. Indeed, modelling the atmospheric dispersion of air contaminants can never completely replace samples taken in the field.
For this reason, environmental authorizations often require an air quality monitoring network involving approved methods and instrumentation that comply with regulations. For example, traditional air quality monitoring stations combined with a weather station are the most commonly used approach. But the acquisition, installation and monitoring costs associated with this equipment are significant, which limits the number of sites where these stations can be deployed.
That said, in recent years, the proliferation of new generation sensors that are small, inexpensive and easy to use has been exponential. These new technologies have the potential to revolutionize current methods of monitoring air quality. On the one hand, these types of monitors can significantly increase the spatial resolution of measurements to collect a large amount of data, facilitating air quality management decision-making for the operators. On the other hand, few tests have been done on the accuracy, precision and long-term use of these sensors. WSP is actively working to integrate these new technologies into our air quality monitoring programs in order to clearly envision the future and design for it today.