Data from the first comprehensive air quality measurement program in coal seam gas (CSG) operational areas of the Surat Basin in Queensland is now available for live-streaming online.
The CSIRO is leading a study through the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA), which collects air quality measurements through a network of five ambient air quality stations.
The data is now being streamed live to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website, and will be managed by the Air Quality Monitoring team within the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.
Transparency of the data collection process was a key goal of the project, according to CSIRO atmospheric researcher, Sarah Lawson.
“The data is accessible to everyone, which means local communities and the general public can stay informed about the air quality in the Western Downs region, how it compares to other parts of Queensland and how levels compare to the government’s air quality standards,” Lawson said in a statement.
“Both the air quality data and modelling results can be used by government to inform policy and regulations around CSG development and by industry to focus on improving practices that reduce emissions of pollutants.”
The data collection stations are located in the Chinchilla, Miles and Condamine regions of Queensland. They measure a wide range of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and atmospheric particles.
The study will use air quality modelling to explore the degree to which different emission sources in the Surat Basin contribute to the levels of air pollution.
Emission sources consist of a variety of natural and man-made emission sources, including the CSG industry, power stations, mines, livestock production, motor vehicles, bushfires and vegetation. With the ability to include or exclude data from different sources independently, the CSIRO hopes that the degree to which particular sources contribute to pollution can be identified.
Queensland minister for innovation, science and the digital economy Leeanne Enoch added: “Hosting the live air quality data from coal seam gas regions to local community and people of Queensland is a great way to show transparency and build confidence in the research that is taking place.”