EPA Tasmania, air-quality news.
This page will provide updates and notifications of air-quality-related issues in Tasmania.
Some of the information here should be regarded as preliminary, and will be subject to later updates.
New entries will be added, in date order, above earlier entries.
- 01 February 2019: A temporary air station has been deployed at Westerway: Westerway station appears on our real-time map (identified as WES), and a data-plot can be viewed by clicking on the small circle marking the station location. We thank the Department of Education for supporting the deployment of the station. Data-plots for Kingborough and Bothwell stations can now also be accessed via the real-time map.
- 25 January 2019: Two temporary air stations deployed: Following requests from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to assist with their bushfire smoke response, EPA Tasmania has deployed small air stations in Kingborough (near Blackmans Bay) and at Bothwell. Current data from these stations appear on the map at left, identified as KBR (Kingborough) and BOT (Bothwell). We thank the Central Highlands Council for supporting the deployment of the Bothwell station.
Data plots of recent data from these temporary stations are now [29 January] available here for Kingborough and here for Bothwell.
- Mid January 2019: Bushfire smoke across Tasmania: As a consequence of the large number of vegetation fires burning across Tasmania many areas of the state have been affected by smoke.
For information about current fires refer to the Tasmania Fire Service web pages.
For health-related information refer to the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services air alerts web pages.
- 06 Nov 2018: Hobart air quality in National Geographic magazine [Oct 2018]:The October issue of the US National Geographic magazine includes an information graphic showing the annual average PM2.5 for Hobart to be near 50 μg m-3. This is erroneous.
The annual average PM2.5 measured at EPA Tasmania's New Town air monitoring station is typically near 5 to 7 μg m-3. These values are published annually in Tasmania's report against the National Environmental Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure. The NEPM reports are available on our web page.
We have contacted the National Geographic magazine to ask about the source of the quoted value. To date we have had no reply.
The National Geographic article refers to the World Health Organisation as one data source. The WHO interactive air pollution map and online database both give values for Hobart consistent with the EPA Tasmania measurements. Note that EPA Tasmania periodically sends air quality data to the WHO, as do all other Australian jurisdications.
- 09 May 2018: Poatina station moved to Latrobe:The solar-powered station that has been at Poatina is now relocated to Latrobe for winter 2018. A webpage will be created shortly, but you can see the the most recent 3 days of station data here.
- 27 March 2018: Queenstown station is now on-line: A BLANkET station was installed at Queenstown on the 16th of March 2018. The station has operated satisfactorily following the deployment. We are bringing the data-plots on-line (e.g. you can view the most recent 3 days of station data here ), and will be creating a page for the station shortly.
- 9 March 2018 : Smoke today at Mornington and Scottsdale: The smoke at Mornington today is from a 6 ha burn at Howrah. (We were able to view the burn and smoke direction from the EPA office in Hobart.) From the appearance of the data, the smoke at Scottsdale appears to be from a source near to the station, but we have no further information at present.
- 9 March 2018 : Slideshows of recent BLANkET data: You can now access a slideshow of plots of the most recent 3 days of station data, and a slideshow of plots of the most recent 30-days of data (as day-averaged values). The slideshows present a plot of one station at a time but should automatically advance to the next station after a few seconds. The order runs from Queenstown on the west coast, up to Smithton in the north-west, eastwards along the north-west coast coast to the Tamar, the north-east, then south through the midlands, the south-east, the Derwent, Hobart and into the Huon. These slideshows can also be accessed from our data-plot selector page.
- 8 March 2018 : Visualisations of the BLANkET data: We have created animated visualisations of PM2.5 and wind (direction and speed) for the BLANkET data. These are accessible via our new visualisation page. Please read the information on that page regarding viewing these animations either in your browser or by downloading and then playing them. The videos will play directly in many recent versions of Internet Explorer or Chrome, but not in the recent Firefox versions (unless some settings are changed). Firefox users may prefer to download the animations. Note that some of the files are large (50 Meg) and may be slow to view or download depending on your local connection speed.
- 8 March 2018 : Planned burns: The planned burning season has commenced with a number of burns already completed or underway in Tasmania. Information on going fires and burns is available on the Tasmania Fire Service web pages (e.g. the 'alerts list' page, the the 'registered burn list' page and the 'what's burning now' page).
- 6 March 2018: A hardware failure of a system disk on one of our head-office computers meant the air data on the web were not being updated from the morning of Sunday 4th March.
We are slowly bringing the critical elements back on another machine (which is a new linux box). A few delays have occurred as this failure has provided the impetus to port code from windows to linux. Stations plots of data for 'today' and 'yesterday' are back up, as is the 'real-time' map and the text files of current data. Other plots (such as the 'year-to-date') will be updated again soon.
- 23 February 2018: Monitoring in Penguin and Ulverstone in 2014:A relocatable BLANkET station was installed at Penguin from late March to early June 2014. This was then moved to the Ulverstone residential area in early June, and remained there until the end of October 2014, when it was moved to Poatina. Data plots of day-averaged data for the Penguin and Ulverstone 2014 monitoring are now available via our data-plot selector page.
- 20 December 2017 : Smoke in northern Tasmania, 16-17 December 2017:The moderate smoke around the north coast of the state on the 17th of December 2017 appears to have originated in the bushfire to the south of St Helens. St Helens station recorded high levels of smoke at times on the 16th and 17th of December: Near 4 a.m. (AEST) on the 17th of December a southerly wind moved smoke north to St Helens, then a wind shift to an easterly wind moved smoke to the west, over the north-east, Tamar and some of the north-west coast. This can be seen in this visualisation of the station PM2.5 and wind data for the north of Tasmania for the 17th-18th of December.
- 20 December 2017 : Data visualisations: For several years we have been making 'visualisations' of the network data to aid in our analysis. These are videos showing a map of Tasmania with the instantaneous PM2.5 at each station represented by the size and colour of a symbol, with the wind speed and direction shown as an arrow. Each frame of the video shows a different time-snapshot. We've not published these previously as they often were of large size, and some browsers would not play the specific video format. We have been experiementing making some (lower image quality) animated GIFs of these videos, and we are now making some available. At this link you can find a visualisation of the station PM2.5 and wind data for Tasmania for the 4th to 8th of April 2017. Description: Late on the 4th and into the early hours of the 5th of April there is smoke in the south of the state from various planned burns in the general area. There is more smoke in the south late on the 5th and again into the 6th of April. Smoke appears in the north of the state around the middle of the 6th and into the 7th (when concentrations are high) and extending into the 8th of April. The smoke in the north largely arrives on a northerly air flow. Analysis (to be presented shortly) identifies the source of the smoke that impacted in the north as chiefly being from planned burns (over several days) in Victoria.
- 15 December 2017: Reports available: Papers presented at the biennial meetings of the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (CASANZ) by EPA Tasmania Air Section officers are available from the BLANkET reports page. There may be minor differences between the versions here and the final papers available from CASANZ.
- 14 December 2017: Woodheater smoke: A new section of our Air web pages on woodheater smoke is now published.
This includes links to our car-based smoke measurement survey data (via The LISTmap) and woodheater use in Tasmania.
More information and links are likely to be added in future.