Shanghaiist recently ran a good piece explaining the basics of air pollution, which is a great segue into my occasional series of posts about Shanghai Air Quality. People are freaking out about the Air Quality again, which happens periodically.
In early 2011 I gathered some data about Shanghai’s air quality, did some simple math, and made a few graphs, wondering if the Shanghai World Expo had been a period of better air quality. Now that we’re a healthy term into 2012, I thought it was a good time to evaluate 2011 for air quality, and perhaps play with a few more graphs to see if we can make sense of Shanghai’s Air Quality in 2011 juxtaposed against the previous 10 years.
For review, Shanghai measures PM10, SO2 and NO2. Data previous to this set measured API in aggregate and always noted “Total Suspended Particulates” as the chief pollutant. So, that’s useless and thus excluded.
Also note that these numbers are not raw (otherwise they’d be in Parts Per Million), they are integers derived by the API formula, explained here. I suppose I could have done the math backwards ad derived the core values, but there are PhD candidates on top of that.
I make no claims of any sort about the accuracy of the source data, which was gathered from the Shanghai Environmental Education Center. The site and the ministry do not go into detail about their methods, testing sites, or any other pertinent details, which ruins the fun.
Here’s the big graph, PM10 for the last 11 years.
Click through to see the SO2 and NO2 graphs, and a much much more! (also click any graph to biggify)