Developing a geostatistical simulation method to inform the quantity and placement of new monitors for a follow-up air sampling campaign.



Citation:

Berman JD, Jin L, Bell ML, Curriero FC. Developing a geostatistical simulation method to inform the quantity and placement of new monitors for a follow-up air sampling campaign. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology 2019;29(2):248-257.

Abstract:

Sampling campaign design is a crucial aspect of air pollution exposure studies. Selection of both monitor numbers and locations is important for maximizing measured information, while minimizing bias and costs. We developed a two-stage geostatistical-based method using pilot NO2 samples from Lanzhou, China with the goal of improving sample design decision-making, including monitor numbers and spatial pattern. In the first step, we evaluate how additional monitors change prediction precision through minimized kriging variance. This was assessed in a Monte Carlo fashion by adding up to 50 new monitors to our existing sites with assigned concentrations based on conditionally simulated NO2 surfaces. After identifying a number of additional sample sites, a second step evaluates their potential placement using a similar Monte Carlo scheme. Evaluations are based on prediction precision and accuracy. Costs are also considered in the analysis. It was determined that adding 28-locations to the existing Lanzhou NO2 sampling campaign captured 73.5% of the total kriged variance improvement and resulted in predictions that were on average within 10.9 μg/m3 of measured values, while using 56% of the potential budget. Additional monitor sites improved kriging variance in a nonlinear fashion. This method development allows for informed sampling design by quantifying prediction improvement (accuracy and precision) against the costs of monitor deployment.