Download the North Pole maps:
Dec 2009 North Pole Alaska JPG [1,288KB]
Jan 2010 North Pole Alaska JPG [1,337 KB]
Jan 2011 North Pole Alaska JPG [1,248 KB]
Feb 16 2011 started 061700 North Pole JPG [1,276KB]
Jan 20 2011 started 140900 North Pole, Alaska JPG [1,167 KB] [published previously]
These maps are 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.
Clearly, high PM 2.5 concentrations are not confined to the Fairbanks bowl but are widespread in North Pole as well.
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.
December 2009: particulate levels are not available from the fixed-site North Pole monitor.
January 2010: particulate levels are not available from the fixed-site North Pole monitor.
January 2011: as recorded by the North Pole monitor (250 Snowman Lane), 6 days were UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS and 4 days were UNHEALTHY. The highest 24-hour average that month was 73.2 micrograms on Jan. 16. The hourly peak that month was 135.2 micrograms on Jan. 25 at 2 AM.
On February 16, 2011 at 6:17 AM, the start time for the sniffer vehicle leaving the Peger Road Air Quality office, PM 2.5 levels measured in North Pole were 54.9 micrograms/cubic meter. Concentrations climbed during the data run, reaching the day’s peak of 96.5 micrograms at 9 AM. The 24-hour average for February 16 measured at the North Pole monitor was 44.1 micrograms, an UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS concentration. Alaska DEC declared an Air Quality Advisory, effective 11 AM on February 16, 2011, stating:
The current Air Quality Index in Fairbanks, North Pole and the immediate surrounding area is UNHEALTHY.