Trent, Andy ; Davies, Mary Ann; Fisher, Rich ; Thistle, Harold W.. 2000. Evaluation of Optical Instruments for Real-Time Continuous Monitoring of Smoke Particulates. 0025 2860. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center. 38 p.
Evaluates five commercially available optical instruments to measure particulate for forest fire smoke in real time. The instruments include the Met One GT-640, MIE DataRam, Radiance Research Nephelometer Model M903, Optec NGN-3 PM2.5 Size-Cut Nephelometer, and the Andersen RTAA 800 Aethalometer. Airborne particulates, especially those particles smaller than 2.5 Ám in diameter (PM2.5), pose potential health, visibility, safety and nuisance problems. Measuring airborne particulate concentrations is very important to land managers as the use of managed forest and rangeland burning increases. The key items of the evaluation were accuracy in measuring or estimating smoke concentrations, comparing results from identical instruments, reliability, cost, and operational characteristics such as portability, power requirements, and data collection. The data were from lab and field settings. The five brands of optical instruments had few fundamental differences. Accurately estimating ambient particle concentrations from light-scattering and absorption properties is difficult. However, optical instruments can estimate the direction of change and magnitude of the overall ambient particulate concentration, providing useful information to air-quality specialists and land managers.
Keywords: aethalometers, air quality, gravimetric samplers, nephelometers, real time, samplers, smoke management, wood smoke
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