Air Quality Assessment

The air quality team at CSIRO has estimated how the smoke from the Hazelwood mine fire travelled in the air using weather data such as wind direction, speed and temperature, and computer models. The team investigated how far the smoke travelled and how often the smoke passed over different towns in the Latrobe Valley and the broader Gippsland region for the duration of the fire. A summary of this work can be found here.

In addition the air quality team at CSIRO have written a report that summarises the air quality measurements made during the Hazelwood mine fire by the various organisations including the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority, the Country Fire Authority and CSIRO.  A summary of that report can be found here.

Finally, to complement the air quality measurements which were incomplete, the CSIRO have undertaken air quality modelling which estimates the hourly averaged air concentrations of particles smaller than 2.5 thousandths of a millimetre and carbon monoxide (CO) in Morwell and surrounding areas. A summary of this third report can be found here.

The following animation shows the output of the fine-scale TAPM of fine particulate (PM2.5) concentration, run on a 100-kilometre grid, and an hourly time step, for the town of Morwell during the Hazelwood mine fire.

The second animation below shows the modelled fine particulate (PM2.5) concentration at two spatial scales, with south-eastern Victoria on the left, and the town of Morwell on the right.  The animation combines two atmospheric transport models operating together – an inner domain presented in the Morwell map to the right uses a TAPM (The Air Pollution Model) to represent fine scale (~100m) PM2.5 concentrations, while in the left-hand panel, a wider CTM (Chemical Transport Model) shows regional concentrations at a three kilometre spatial resolution surrounding the town. The animation shows 12-hourly average concentrations (6am to 6pm and 6pm to 6am).

These animations are based upon modelling performed by the CSIRO using the CSIRO’s TAPM and CTM software, by Martin Cope, Kathryn Emmerson, Ashok Luhar and Fabienne Reisen, and Grant Williamson from the University of Tasmania. The animations were produced by Grant Williamson.

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Acknowledgement to Country

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land where our Study teams are based, particularly the Gunaikurnai peoples of Gippsland.