Current air quality research

An overview of major research programs currently being undertaken.

Our research addresses the NSW Government’s priority knowledge needs, identified through the Knowledge Strategy, to support evidence based air quality management and reduced air pollution exposure in New South Wales.

Research programs are delivered in collaboration with trusted policy and science partners, and in line with the Scientific Rigour Position Statement (PDF 208KB). This ensures our research meets globally accepted standards for scientific rigour from start to finish, providing robust scientific evidence to support

Enhancing air quality forecasting: a collaborative program involving several NSW Government agencies and science partners to develop advanced tools and capabilities to progressively expand the scope and enhance the accuracy of forecasting air quality in New South Wales. By providing accurate local air quality forecasts, people susceptible to the impacts of poor air quality, can take steps to reduce their risk of exposure.

Sydney air quality study: A multi-year research program by Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and EPA, in collaboration with NSW Health, to improve understanding of the impacts of air quality on human health and the environment in the Greater Sydney region. This study aims to integrate and expand the evidence base to address gaps in our understanding of air quality and its impacts and identify feasible options to reduce such impacts.

Developing and deploying air pollution sensor networks: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water and EPA are collaborating with leading research partners and environment agencies in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to investigate emerging air quality sensor technologies and related data integration methods. This research will improve our understanding of how sensor networks may be deployed to support air pollution mapping and other applications.

Broken Hill Environmental Lead Study: a project commissioned by NSW EPA to inform remediation efforts as part of the Broken Hill Environmental Lead Program. This collaborative study by Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, EPA and Macquarie University aims to determine likely source areas contributing to airborne lead levels in Broken Hill to help direct efforts to reduce community lead exposure in Broken Hill.

Modular Emissions Modelling System: a project initiated by Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water to generate high resolution spatial and temporal emission estimates for anthropogenic and natural sources across New South Wales. It is a stand-alone and open-source emission model, combining emissions modelling with data from the EPA’s Air Emissions Inventory for the Greater Metropolitan Region in New South Wales. Modular Emissions Modelling System serves as an integrated emission process for multiple applications, including air quality research, forecasting and environmental management.

The Operational Network of Air Quality Impact Resources (OPENAIR): this project is led by the NSW Smart Sensing Network in collaboration with the department. OPENAIR was launched in January 2022 to develop best practice methodology and supporting resources to help councils use low-cost sensors to address the air quality issues experienced across New South Wales.

The recent availability of low-cost sensors makes it feasible to collect localised air quality data at urban precincts, busy road intersections and areas where local topography concentrates pollution that can be used to provide additional localised air quality information to the public – more information on the OPENAIR website.