CAQI Common Air Quality Index - Update with PM2.5 and sensitivity analysis
Science of the Total Environment
The CAQI or Common Air Quality Index was proposed to facilitate the comparison of air quality in European cities in real-time. There are many air quality indices in use in the world. All are somewhat different in concept and presentation and comparing air quality presentations of cities on the internet was virtually impossible. The CAQI and the accompanying website www.airqualitynow.eu and app were proposed to overcome this problem in Europe. This paper describes the logic of making an index, in particular the CAQI and its update with a grid for PM2.5. To assure a smooth transition to the new calculation scheme we studied the behaviour of the index before and after the changes. We used 2006 Airbase data from 31 urban background and 27 street stations all across Europe (that were monitoring PM2.5 in 2006). The CAQI characterises a city by a roadside and urban background situation. It also insists on a minimum number of pollutants to be included in the calculation. Both were deemed necessary to improve the basis for comparing one city to another. A sensitivity analysis demonstrates the comparative behaviour of the street and urban background stations and presents the sensitivity of the CAQI outcome to the pollutants included in its calculation.
Air quality index; PM2.5; Urban air quality; Public awareness