Added Value of Vaisala AQT530 Sensors as a Part of a Sensor Network for Comprehensive Air Quality Monitoring

Tuukka Petäjä, Aino Ovaska, Pak Lun Fung, Pyry Poutanen, Jaakko Yli-Ojanperä, Jari Suikkola, Mikko Laakso, Taneli Mäkelä, Jarkko V. Niemi, Jorma Keskinen, Anssi Järvinen, Joel Kuula, Mona Kurppa, Tareq Hussein, Sasu Tarkoma, Markku Kulmala, Ari Karppinen, Hanna E. Manninen, Hilkka Timonen

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Poor air quality influences the quality of life in the urban environment. The regulatory observation stations provide the backbone for the city administration to monitor urban air quality. Recently a suite of cost-effective air quality sensors has emerged to provide novel insights into the spatio-temporal variability of aerosol particles and trace gases. Particularly in low concentrations these sensors might suffer from issues related e.g., to high detection limits, concentration drifts and interdependency between the observed trace gases and environmental parameters. In this study we characterize the optical particle detector used in AQT530 (Vaisala Ltd.) air quality sensor in the laboratory. We perform a measurement campaign with a network of AQT530 sensors in Helsinki, Finland in 2020–2021 and present a long-term performance evaluation of five sensors for particulate (PM10, PM2.5) and gaseous (NO2, NO, CO, O3) components during a half-year co-location study with reference instruments at an urban traffic site. Furthermore, short-term (3–5 weeks) co-location tests were performed for 25 sensors to provide sensor-specific correction equations for the fine-tuning of selected pollutants in the sensor network. We showcase the added value of the verified network of 25 sensor units to address the spatial variability of trace gases and aerosol mass concentrations in an urban environment. The analysis assesses road and harbor traffic monitoring, local construction dust monitoring, aerosol concentrations from fireworks, impact of sub-urban small scale wood combustion and detection of long-range transport episodes on a city scale. Our analysis illustrates that the calibrated network of Vaisala AQT530 air quality sensors provide new insights into the spatio-temporal variability of air pollution within the city. This information is beneficial to, for example, optimization of road dust and construction dust emission control as well as provides data to tackle air quality problems arising from traffic exhaust and localized wood combustion emissions in the residential areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number719567
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Environmental Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • air quality
  • air quality sensors
  • gaseous pollutants
  • particulate matter
  • sensor network

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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