MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2022. BY MATT WANINK, WESTERN WEATHER GROUP.
The Lodi Winegrape Commission recently added three new air quality sensors from Western Weather Group to enhance a network of air quality data in the region for growers. The NPM3 Sensor from Met One Instruments is a forward light scatter nephelometer particulate monitor which automatically measures real time airborne PM2.5 particulate concentration levels (for example, wildfire smoke). Air quality measurements have become increasingly important as indicators for safe outdoor working conditions and winegrape quality during prolonged droughts when harvest wildfires are a concern.
“Year-round air quality data will help the Commission analyze levels of naturally-occurring (baseline) smoke taint compounds in ripe winegrapes during non-wildfire vintages. Many Lodi growers have farmed for generations and never experienced a wildfire smoke threat such as we saw in 2020. The confusion around smoke-related testing and thresholds for taint risk created a tumultuous situation with massive financial consequences, especially for the majority of farmers who sell their grapes to a winery buyer. In the Lodi region alone, thousands of tons of grapes remained in limbo and/or were rejected for harvest in 2020 due to insufficient research-based information and a lack of testing resources. Research will improve our understanding of the impacts of smoke exposure to grapes and the resulting wines, enabling better-informed harvest decisions and mitigation tactics.” – Stephanie Bolton, PhD, Research & Education Director, Lodi Winegrape Commission
Three of the weather stations in the Lodi network were upgraded to be able to handle these new air quality sensors. They were Galt East, Guard Road and Lone Oak. In combination with already installed sensors at some Constellation weather stations, the region now has a solid network for growers to be able to see in real time the AQI or air quality index.
The dataloggers from these weather stations have special coding within them to read the air quality data and properly display it per the EPA’s NOWCAST formula.
Current data from these special sensors can be found on the LWC Weather website near the bottom of the page. The LWC Weather website currently displays AQI data, the current AQ status (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, etc) along with the particulate matter concentration of PM2.5. If you are looking for past data, you can easily go to “Create Report” on the LWC Weather website, find the weather stations with AQI data and make your own custom report.
To learn more about the new air quality sensors or the Lodi weather network, contact Matt Wanink at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image: The NPM-3 Network Particulate Monitor. Photo from metone.com.
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