Shanghai PM2.5 main AQI update: Comparative PM2.5 data for 3 measurement stations in Shanghai

Posted on January 19th 2013
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Shanghai AQI data is now based on the maximum PM2.5 AQI data for 3 stations: Shanghai US Consulate (上海美国总领事馆), Jingan (静安监测站)
and Shanghai Normal College Primary Division (上海师范专科学校附属小学).

The first station is maintained by US Consulate in Shanghai, while the two last ones are provided by Shanghai Environment Monitoring Center(上海市环境监测中心), which is governmental center.

If you have concerns about some stations reporting lower PM2.5 data compared to others, then refer to the following graphics; they show the relative PM2.5 reporting for the last 5 days for each of the above mentioned stations:

Shanghai AQI data is now based on the maximum PM2.5 AQI data for 3 stations: Shanghai US Consulate (上海美国总领事馆), Jingan (静安监测站)
and Shanghai Normal College Primary Division (上海师范专科学校附属小学).

The first station is maintained by US Consulate in Shanghai, while the two last ones are provided by Shanghai Environment Monitoring Center(上海市环境监测中心), which is governmental center.

If you have concerns about some stations reporting lower PM2.5 data compared to others, then refer to the following graphics; they show the relative PM2.5 reporting for the last 5 days for each of the above mentioned stations:

Shanghai US Consulate (上海美国总领事馆) PM2.5 AQI reported by Shanghai US consulateShanghai US Consulate, Shanghai PM25 (fine particulate matter)  measured by U.S. Consulate Shanghai Air Quality Monitor.
Values are converted to the US EPA AQI standard.
Shanghai Normal College Primary Division (上海师范专科学校附属小学) PM2.5 AQI reported by Shanghai MEPShanghai Normal College Primary Division, Shanghai PM25 (fine particulate matter)  measured by Shanghai Environment Monitoring Center(上海市环境监测中心).
Values are converted to the US EPA AQI standard.
Jingan (静安监测站) PM2.5 AQI reported by Shanghai MEPJingan, Shanghai PM25 (fine particulate matter)  measured by Shanghai Environment Monitoring Center(上海市环境监测中心).
Values are converted to the US EPA AQI standard.

As you can see, the reality is that Shanghai Environmental Protection Center and Shanghai US Consulate PM2.5 data is similar. And actually, in many case, the raw µg/m3 PM2.5 data reported by China MEP (China Ministry of Environmental Protection, to which Shanghai EP Center is reporting data) is actually higher than what is reported by the US consulate.

Some of the readers might be surprised since other apps (like the famous Dirty Beijing) are known to "highlight" lower AQI measured by MEP compared to the US data. The reason is that they do not use the same PM2.5 µg/m3 to AQI convertion for MEP and US data, meaning that they are comparing apple and bananas.

In this web site, all pollutant data (PM2.5, PM10, NO2, SO2, CO, O3) are converted from µg/m3 to AQI using the same convertion formula, which is the official EPA (US Environment Protection Agency) (revision from 2011, which is much more stict than the 2006 one; sorry no we cannot find the link to this revision). Only usign this unique convertion formula, it makes sense to compare the AQI data.

So, now, you might ask what is the trick with the MEP data? Well, it is just that the US EPA convertion formula is much more strict than others (and even more for the 2011 one), especially for AQI values below 150. So, if you look at the raw PM2.5 µg/m3 data, values are very much similar between US and MEP. But if you look at the AQI converted values , then, yes, China MEP based convertion formula AQI values are lower than the US EPA based convertion formula AQI values. But no worry, this site only uses the US EPA convertion formula, so regarless of which center is reporting the PM2.5 µg/m3 data, you will always get the safe AQI measurement based on the US Environment Protection Agency.

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    About the Air Quality and Pollution Measurement:

    About the Air Quality Levels

    AQIAir Pollution LevelHealth ImplicationsCautionary Statement (for PM2.5)
    0 - 50GoodAir quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no riskNone
    51 -100ModerateAir quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
    101-150Unhealthy for Sensitive GroupsMembers of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
    151-200UnhealthyEveryone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effectsActive children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion
    201-300Very UnhealthyHealth warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.
    300+HazardousHealth alert: everyone may experience more serious health effectsEveryone should avoid all outdoor exertion

    To know more about Air Quality and Pollution, check the wikipedia Air Quality topic or the airnow guide to Air Quality and Your Health.

    For very useful health advices of Beijing Doctor Richard Saint Cyr MD, check www.myhealthbeijing.com blog.


    Usage Notice: All the Air Quality data are unvalidated at the time of publication, and due to quality assurance these data may be amended, without notice, at any time. The World Air Quality Index project has exercised all reasonable skill and care in compiling the contents of this information and under no circumstances will the World Air Quality Index project team or its agents be liable in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss, injury or damage arising directly or indirectly from the supply of this data.



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