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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

Air Emissions in My Community web tool overview

Introduction

The Air Emissions in My Community web tool presents data from the Air Emissions Inventory in a variety of interactive chart views using an easy to use interface. The data can be presented for different geographical areas, ranging from the entire NSW Greater Metropolitan Region (GMR) down to postcode level. Emissions of 17 substances from emission sources grouped into 63 activities are included.

Using the web tool

The web tool contains four interactive chart views:

  • Human vs natural emissions - compare emissions of multiple substances from natural and human-made sources
  • Top emission activities - list the major sources of emissions of one substance
  • Sector emission trends - investigate monthly and yearly trends in emissions of one substance
  • Geographic comparison - compare emissions of multiple substances in different locations.

To select substances, geographical areas, sectors and units click on the menu icon as shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1: Web tool menu selections

In most views, additional information (for instance percentage contribution to the total emissions) is displayed when the mouse cursor is positioned over the bars or pie slices as shown in Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Web tool hover over information

Whenever the mouse pointer changes to a hand Hand,a function or action is available by left mouse clicking that item.

Web tool fact sheets

Fact sheets and information on substances, geographical areas, sectors and activities, and emission units, and frequently asked questions are available below:

Web tool database

A Microsoft Access database containing the emissions data used in the web tool is available below:

Emissions vs ambient air quality

When interpreting the information from the web tool, it is important to understand the relationship between emissions and ambient air quality is quite complex and influenced by a number of factors. How these emissions are dispersed, transported and transformed depends primarily on:

  • meteorology (wind speed and direction, temperature, sunlight and rainfall) - high wind speeds tend to dilute emissions, while wind direction dictates where they are transported. Medium and long range transport of emissions may also impact on local air quality when emissions from a large distant source are transported by wind. Temperature and sunlight play a key role in atmospheric reactions
  • topography (surrounding terrain) - this can either trap emissions, influence how they disperse or determine the direction they are transported
  • atmospheric reactions - in addition to primary emissions, secondary pollutants, such as photochemical smog (ground-level ozone) or secondary particulate matter (inorganic sulfates, nitrates and secondary organic aerosols (SOA)) can also be formed
  • source type (either point or area) - the influence of a particular emission source on local air quality tends to decrease with distance from the source. Substances may be emitted from a point source, like a boiler chimney, or over a wider area such as diffuse motor vehicle emissions in an urban road network.

While the web tool provides information on the key emission sources in a geographical area, it cannot be directly used to estimate local air quality. You can either view updated hourly ambient concentrations , AQI values or search and download historical air quality data where you live.

Launch web tool

You can launch the Air Emissions in My Community web tool to view or download emissions data.

The Microsoft Silverlight add-on must be installed for the web tool to work correctly with the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser. Silverlight may be downloaded here. For most other web browsers, the web tool will work correctly without Silverlight but will operate a little slower. Mobile devices and non-Silverlight web browsers use an HTML version of the web tool, which at present does not have an Export function.

Please note when you first launch the web tool, the application:

  • will ask for local storage on your PC
  • may take 30 to 60 seconds to load depending on your PC specfication and internet connection speed.

On subsequent uses of the web tool, the application will load in less than 5 seconds.

Page last updated: 02 May 2014