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Volume 16, No. 2, February 2016, Pages 464-469 PDF(525 KB)  Supplementary MaterialPDFPDF (376 KB)
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.02.0089   

Inexpensive Automated Atmospheric Measurements of Aerosol Optical Thickness, Ozone, and Temperature

Mark J. Perri, Michael R. Haggmark, Dylan R. Silva, Ross M. Mohs

Department of Chemistry, Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, CA 94928, USA


  • The inexpensive GLOBE sun photometer has been automated through a servo system.
  • An embedded linux computer has been interfaced with four air quality sensors.
  • The platform inexpensively automates measurements for undergraduate research.



An inexpensive platform has been developed for automated measurements of air quality. Low-cost sensors for aerosol optical thickness, ozone, temperature, relative humidity, and pressure were combined with a low-cost computer (Raspberry Pi) for automated monitoring. The Raspberry Pi is well-suited to automated measurements because of: (1) its low cost, (2) its low power consumption, (3) its ability to communicate over Ethernet or wireless networks and (4) its ability to interface with many sensors through analog-to-digital converters or directly through Universal Serial Bus (USB), serial port, Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C), and Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI). This setup is appropriate for use in, e.g., undergraduate atmospheric research groups, where the cost of typical automated sensors is prohibitively expensive. We report measurements taken over a two-month period which includes evidence of high nighttime ozone due to being downwind of a forest fire. This platform can be expanded to enable other atmospheric measurements from a number of sensors.



Keywords: Aerosol optical thickness; Automated measurement; Undergraduate research; Raspberry Pi.



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