• Article

U.S. National PM2.5 Chemical Speciation Monitoring Networks—CSN and IMPROVE: Description of networks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated the national PM2.5 Chemical Speciation Monitoring Network (CSN) in 2000 to support evaluation of long-term trends and to better quantify the impact of sources on particulate matter (PM) concentrations in the size range below 2.5 ?m aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5; fine particles). The network peaked at more than 260 sites in 2005. In response to the 1999 Regional Haze Rule and the need to better understand the regional transport of PM, EPA also augmented the long-existing Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) visibility monitoring network in 2000, adding nearly 100 additional IMPROVE sites in rural Class 1 Areas across the country. Both networks measure the major chemical components of PM2.5 using historically accepted filter-based methods. Components measured by both networks include major anions, carbonaceous material, and a series of trace elements. CSN also measures ammonium and other cations directly, whereas IMPROVE estimates ammonium assuming complete neutralization of the measured sulfate and nitrate. IMPROVE also measures chloride and nitrite. In general, the field and laboratory approaches used in the two networks are similar; however, there are numerous, often subtle differences in sampling and chemical analysis methods, shipping, and quality control practices. These could potentially affect merging the two data sets when used to understand better the impact of sources on PM concentrations and the regional nature and long-range transport of PM2.5. This paper describes, for the first time in the peer-reviewed literature, these networks as they have existed since 2000, outlines differences in field and laboratory approaches, provides a summary of the analytical parameters that address data uncertainty, and summarizes major network changes since the inception of CSN.


Solomon, P. A., Crumpler, D., Flanagan, JB., Jayanty, R., Rickman, E., & McDade, C. E. (2014). U.S. National PM2.5 Chemical Speciation Monitoring Networks—CSN and IMPROVE: Description of networks. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 64(12), 1410-1438. https://doi.org/10.1080/10962247.2014.956904