EPA Awards JHU Team for Air Quality Sensor Network

A team of Johns Hopkins researchers has been awarded $40,000 from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to engage community partners and neighborhoods to monitor and gather much-needed data on air quality in the Baltimore region. The project is one of two award recipients for EPA’s Smart City Air Challenge, and is led by Anna Scott, a PhD student in the JHU Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. In addition to engaging communities, she is working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, climate science, public health, and urban planning to conduct the project.

The team will be building a network of 300 low-cost environmental sensors measuring temperature and air quality and placing them throughout the Baltimore area. The data gleaned from the sensors will help to better understand the variability of air pollution in the region and to inform communities, decision makers and policy makers for environmental and health decisions.

The project builds off of B’more Cool, an urban heat island monitoring project collaboratively undertaken by JHU, the City of Baltimore, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and community groups. As part of that work, the JHU team developed a custom-designed, affordable monitoring device, known as the WeatherCube, which will be deployed for this project. 

Resources

"Can Big Data Solve Big Climate Problems?" article in the Spring 2017 JHU Arts & Sciences Magazine

Learn more about the WeatherCube sensors 

Urban Heat Island Sensors in Baltimore  

Overview of the types of air pollution and their health impacts, from the National Institutes of Health 

Air Quality Impacts, from the US Global Change Research Program's "Climate and Health Assessment" report

Learning to be an innovator is about learning to cross disciplinary boundaries and exploring problems and their solutions from multiple perspectives.
— Tony Wagner