DATABASE: Sampling the Skies

Science  29 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5697, pp. 787
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5697.787e

If you're looking to tease out trends in U.S. air pollution, one place to start is AirData from the Environmental Protection Agency. The site provides annual summaries of pollution measurements over the last decade, merging information from two other EPA databases. You can create yearly reports on levels of seven “criteria” air pollutants, including lead, particulate matter, and ozone, and a long list of other hazardous compounds, such as carbon tetrachloride and mercury. Narrow your search to a particular county, ZIP code, or monitoring station, or compare emissions from year to year. For example, the Santa Clarita monitoring station near Los Angeles overshot the 1-hour federal standard for ozone on 35 days in 2003, 32 days in 2002, and 9 days in 2001.

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