CleanAIRE NC Citizen Science

The CleanAIRE NC Citizen Science program engages
North Carolinians in the fight for cleaner air.

Volunteers in the program take measurements, track, and help interpret the air quality captured by air monitoring devices. This allows us to collect data about the air we share. All across the state, scientists and change-makers can use the data we collect to make a difference in the air we breathe.

Why Monitor Air?

Air pollution can be hard to see–and even harder to measure. Some particles are small enough to pass through the lungs and directly into the bloodstream. These are called PM2.5 — particulate matter that is less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. Particle pollution levels can also vary by location. In many cases, concentrations can differ dramatically just across town. Exposure to particle pollution over time can impact your health in serious ways and even shorten your life expectancy.  

Since the state maintains only 22 official monitoring stations, CleanAIRE NC Science helps gather accurate pollution levels by expanding the data collection with more air monitors based throughout the state. Without this support, too many neighborhoods and communities would be in the dark on their levels of exposure. Data and information empower these communities to take steps to improve the air they breathe.

How Monitors Work

Purple Air monitors installed outside measure particulate matter. The monitor takes in air with a small fan, passing it through a chamber with a small laser. Any light from the laser scattered by particles is counted. The monitors upload real-time data to their website that stores and visualizes the readings from each sensor. We use the data to create a map (check it out below!) that shows air pollution levels in real-time and identifies pollution trends in neighborhoods.

Host a Monitor in Your Community

Are you working with a group? Then check out our Lending Library!

AirBeam 2 is a portable PM2.5 air sensor that is great for measuring pollution across an area, or for short-term monitoring. We have a Lending Library of AirBeam 2 monitors and tablets that we loan community groups and school groups in North Carolina who are interested in learning more about air quality.

View in real-time our network of monitors at work and find where you live.

Monitor Network

CleanAIRE NC Citizen Science Advisory Board

The Citizen Science Advisory Board is involved in strategic planning for the future of the citizen science program. Current Advisory Board members include technical experts on air monitoring technology, citizen science engagement, and GIS and mapping expertise. We are especially interested in working with experts throughout different regions of North Carolina. If you or someone you know would like to serve on our Advisory Board, please contact us at [email protected].

Meet our Advisory Board members from across the state:

Contact Us

Citizen Science Program

Join our advocacy network and receive updates, news, upcoming event alerts, and more.

Resources

Find all our current resources on Citizen Science programs.