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Israel air pollution monitoring database – bringing the data closer to the user

Air pollution monitoring is an important source of information regarding the quality of the air. A large (albeit, not without problems) air pollution monitoring database exists in Israel, with the first few stations dating back to the early 1980s. Currently, the network is relatively dense and contains more than 100 stations nation-wise. The data observed by the monitoring stations are available from the National Monitoring Centre of the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP). The data can be downloaded from the MoEP site in their raw form. The TCEEH has embarked on a project that will yield a ready-to-use air pollution data base, available to the research community. The data were downloaded from the MoEP site and arranged in an easy to access archive. Matlab® scripts were developed to enable working with the data according to the user's specifications (by pollutant, station, period, etc.) and carrying out various analyses. The many analysis tools are currently used for quality assurance of the data. Additional tools will be developed to automatically detect and correct certain types of data inaccuracies (e.g. sudden jumps due to rough changes in the instrument calibrations). Advanced time series analysis tools will be developed to fill-in missing data. The goal is to have a complete dataset, available at different levels of processing and ready to use in environmental health (or other) studies. The current temporal span is 2000-2011 (with plans to go further back in time in the near future). Data from all the monitoring stations in Israel are included. The computer codes are open-source so that users can modify and tailor them to their needs.