This PM 2.5 concentration map is from data collected by the Fairbanks North Star Borough instrumented “sniffer” vehicle traveling on public roads in Fairbanks, Alaska. Schools in the area are Barnette and Denali Elementary.
This map is an instantaneous snapshot of what was happening at that time, not a 24-hour average or a 1-hour average.
The legend shows approximate locations of coal and wood heaters and woodstoves. Some of the heating sources shown on the map may have changed over time or may not be in use. The PM 2.5 concentration maps do not show all possible area sources.
The maps capture areawide PM 2.5 concentrations at the time of the sniffer vehicle runs. Winter neighborhood levels are typically higher than at the downtown monitor. However, even the sniffer runs do not capture the highly dangerous peak hourly concentrations. Peak PM 2.5 exposures are most strongly associated with adverse health effects including hospitalization and death. Review the medical studies in two articles linked in this previous post: Wood-fired Hydronic Heaters: Hazardous but Unregulated.
On February 15, 2011 at 6 PM, particulate levels measured at the downtown monitor (675 7th Ave in Fairbanks, the lower star) were 76.6 micrograms/cubic meter. At 12 midnight the concentrations climbed to a subdaily peak of 141 micrograms. The 24-hour average for February 15 was 58.8 micrograms, making it UNHEALTHY.
No Air Quality Advisory was in effect on February 15 although DEC declared one the next day. After 26 consecutive hours of PM 2.5 levels over the state and federal limit (including 5 hours above 100 micrograms), DEC declared the Air Quality Advisory on February 16 at 11 AM, stating:
The current Air Quality Index in Fairbanks, North Pole and the immediate surrounding area is UNHEALTHY.
During February 2011, 5 UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS days and 2 UNHEALTHY days were recorded at the downtown monitor.
During the winter of 2010/2011, the peak hourly PM 2.5 concentration recorded downtown was 174.2 micrograms on January 20 at 6 PM. 30 UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS days and 11 UNHEALTHY days were recorded downtown.