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Comparing Air Quality in Coastal and Inland areas: A Case Study in Long Island and Albany NY, and a Deeper Look onto the Effect of Dispersion from Canada’s 2023 Wildfires

Organization(s):University Of Toledo
Student(s):Shreyaa Sanjay
Grade Level:Secondary School (grades 9-12, ages 14-18)
Educator(s):Yitong Jiang
Contributors:Kendall Cook
Report Type(s):International Virtual Science Symposium Report
Presentation Video: View Video
Presentation Poster: View Document
Date Submitted:03/05/2024
The ocean stands as a critical and significant feature of the earth, and plays a crucial role in a majority of weather-related phenomena. Thus, we examined the differences in air qualities between two regions depending on their proximity to the ocean using many factors to conclude if the ocean also plays a role in filtering air quality as well as the certain reason why the ocean has this effect. Furthermore, the wildfire’s originating in Northern Canada had an unproportionately high impact on the air quality in New York and so the impact the wildfires had on the primary research objective was also studied. We analyzed a multitude of factors including wind speed, wind direction and particulate matter 2.5 to determine a conclusion to both research objectives. PurpleAir sensors were used to carefully gather Particulate matter 2.5 data over the selected time frames of March-May 2023 and June 4-10. The former set of dates was used to demonstrate the standard trend of comparisons between the air qualities in coastal and inland cities, and the latter was the week used to gather data for the wildfires. Wind speed data was obtained from NOAA in the same time frames. Sky color was gathered from GLOBE sites, and wind direction from weather underground. The data was then graphed and analyzed. We concluded that the coastal region had the better air quality because of certain factors. and in fact, the ocean does serve as a natural air filter. Moreover, the wildfires undermined this conclusion and both of the air qualities were equally poor regardless of coastal proximity. Our research aims to expand and confirm prior studies by looking deeper into the specific reasons why the ocean is considered an “air quality filter” and compare this consensus to the effects of the recent wildfires.