Tahkuse Air Monitoring Station

General description

Tahkuse air monitoring station (58°31.47′N, 24°55.53′E 1), is located in the Tahkuse village, Pärnu county, 27 km northeast of Pärnu down, in a sparsely populated rural site, near Soomaa National Park. It is one of the environmental research stations of the Environmental Physics Laboratory of the Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, gradually established during many decades, beginning from the Soviet time at about 1984. Air quality investigations at Tahkuse have been a part of the National Environmental Monitoring Program since 1994.

The objective of the Tahkuse air monitoring station is to conduct long-term systematic complex physical and chemical measurements of the atmosphere to obtain statistically significant information on atmospheric pollution parameters and their trends in relatively clean rural environment (background monitoring). This data would serve as a reference for other areas with a higher population density and proximity to industries. The data allows to study the relationships between the measured parameters and the dependence of air pollution and its distribution on meteorological parameters.

Currently measured environmental parameters:

  • Atmospheric trace and pollution gases: SO2, NOx, O3, CO2, CH4, H2O, THC (total hydrocarbon), H2S and radon (Rn-222).

  • Aerosol particle size distributions in the size range of 3 nm – 10 µm.

  • Positive and negative air ion mobility distributions in equivalent size range of 0.5 – 40 nm.

  • Nanoparticle and neutral cluster size distribution in size range of 2.0 – 40 nm

  • Meteorological parameters: air temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), atmospheric pressure (P), precipitation amount and intensity, wind speed and direction.

Environmental monitoring data of atmospheric composition is presented in collaboration with the Estonian Environmental Research Centre on publicly available webpage of Estonian ambient air quality (http://airviro.klab.ee/). Exclusively for all the devices, detailed measurement data is displayed through a web application (based on the Grafana platform) developed by the research team itself, which allows remote monitoring of Tahkuse measurements and find out the relationship between measured quantities already in the cause of measurements, in order to analyze them later in more detail.

Development of the station:

  • First continuous measurements of atmospheric air ions started in 1984/1985.

  • Systematic measurements of small, intermediate and large air ions mobility-size distributions in a wide range together with meteorological parameters started in 1988.

  • First atmospheric trace gas (NO2) measurements by the NO2 monitor obtained as a present from the University of Turku, Finland, in 1991.

  • Aerosol size distribution measurements with the Electrical Aerosol Spectrometer (EAS), developed in the University of Tartu, since 2003.

  • Radon (Rn-222) measurements in air with AlphaGuard P-30 since 2007.

  • Measurements of mobility-size distributions of air ions and nanoparticles with the NAIS (Neutral cluster and Air Ion Spectrometer) since 2011.

  • Set up of advanced instrumentation for atmospheric gas composition measurements (SO2, NOx, O3, CO2, CH4, H2O, THC (total hydrocarbon) and H2S, procured through Estonian-Swiss cooperation programme in 2015.