Mapping Boise Air: Spatio-Temporal Differences in Particulate Matter Distribution in the Greater Boise Area

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



School of Public Service


Environmental Studies

Faculty Sponsor

Beau Hansen


Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) can have a detrimental impact on humans, including cardiovascular and respiratory effects. These PM 2.5 values are communicated by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) via stationary monitors, however research has suggested that stationary monitors are not adequate in showing air quality variance across a larger spatial range. Using this information we asked: as the city of Boise, Idaho has grown, how has particulate matter distribution changed? We utilized 2 Aerocet 831 Handheld Particle Counters to take weekly measurements of PM 2.5 levels in downtown Boise and along the Boise Greenbelt pedestrian pathway. The Downtown Grid was designed to encapsulate low and high traffic areas, and the Greenbelt Grid to encapsulate pedestrian and vehicular pathways. Our measurements were then compared to readings taken by a DEQ stationary air monitor located at St. Luke’s, Meridian. One finding is that downtown Boise has higher PM 2.5 values than the Boise Greenbelt, with a median value of 9.8 compared to 4.1, respectively. The research has found that even over short distances there can be a large disparity between PM levels. This preliminary research could be used to guide future studies and communicate more accurate information to sensitive populations.


Acknowledgements: The research for the project described was supported by the Environmental Studies program of Boise State University and administered by Dr. Beau Hansen. Funding was also provided by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and research conducted in partnership with Pollution Prevention Projects Coordinator Ben Jarvis.

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