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The need to develop calibration procedures for automatic bioaerosol monitors
by Dr. Fiona Tummon, Dr. Konstantina Vasilatou, Prof. Julia Schmale, Mr. Kevin Auderset, Dr. Bernard Clot, Dr. Benoit Crouzy, Dr. Gian Lieberherr, Dr. Georgi Tancev, Mr. Christian Wälchli


Bioaerosols play an important role in the climate system and, for certain allergenic pollen or pathogenic fungal spores, also have significant impacts on human health and agriculture. The costs associated with these impacts run into billions of Euros per year in Europe alone. Being able to monitor relevant bioaerosol types in real-time has an enormous potential to improve the quality of life of the 80 million Europeans suffering from allergies and to reduce costs by providing significantly improved information to decision makers, whether they be from the health or agricultural sectors. Moreover, fragile ecosystems, such as high Alpine regions or the Arctic greening rapidly due to climate change. In such environments pollen monitoring can underpin ecology studies on vegetation shifts and invasive species. In addition, bioaerosols are also effective ice nucleating particles (INP) which affect cloud formation, cloud-radiation interactions and precipitation formation. Hence, bioaerosol monitoring can inform on changes in potential INP populations. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to develop a real-time automatic bioaerosol monitoring network, and MeteoSwiss is coordinating the AutoPollen programme under EUMETNET [1]. The technology to make real-time bioaerosol measurements is, however, new and no standards yet exist to calibrate and certify instruments. We will present results from operational measurements and from laboratory-based instrument calibration carried out at the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology METAS. For the operational monitoring, the artificial intelligence algorithms of the instruments were trained with a series of known bioaerosols. For the laboratory experiments, a range of different sized polystyrene latex particles up to 20 μm were used at various concentrations. However, it is important to note, that laboratory methods, developed to calibrate traditional air quality monitors, do not cover the typical size range (10-100 μm) or concentrations (as low as 1 particle/m3) for which bioaerosol monitors are used. Such capacity will be vital to properly calibrate such instruments and allow for certification procedures to be developed. Furthermore, it would likewise be important to develop methods to aerosolise known quantities of different bioaerosol types, for example, pollen and fungal spores. Such biological particles are typically fragile and cannot be aerosolised using standard techniques. Likewise, they are known to change under different environmental conditions, for example, increased humidity, and no studies have been yet carried out to explore the influence of such factors on measurement efficiency. [1]


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Topic : Theme 1: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
Reference : T1-A40

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