As the world works toward a greener future, new tools are needed to study the impact humans have on the environment. For most urban areas, the annual carbon footprint of a single city can range from “40 to 80 metric tons of carbon dioxide” according to Business Insider. Fortunately, environmental sensor technologies have greatly improved in recent years, and we now are able to study our carbon footprint and impact in ways we could only dream of a decade ago. Leveraging the Internet of Things to connect sensors across a city or geographic region to a single network could mean even more information for scientists, meteorologists, and ecologists everywhere.
“Monitoring is the Rodney Dangerfield of air regulation: It just can't get no respect," says Dick Valentinetti, who has chaired the monitoring subcommittee for the National Association of Clean Air Agencies and spent 43 years in environmental regulation, mostly with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. But without consistent, reliable air monitoring, the clear blue skies we love and clean air we need to breathe could become a mess. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun to recognize that new technologies – specifically devices optimized for Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications – can make air monitoring effective and affordable throughout communities.