Air emissions in my community

The Air Emissions in My Community web tool presents data from the 2008 Air Emissions Inventory in a variety of interactive chart views using an easy to use interface. The data can be presented for different geographical areas, ranging from the entire NSW Greater Metropolitan Region (PDF 210KB) (GMR) down to postcode level. Emissions of 17 substances from emission sources grouped into 63 activities are included.

Using the web tool

The web tool contains four interactive chart views:

  • Human vs natural emissions - compare emissions of multiple substances from natural and human-made sources
  • Top emission activities - list the major sources of emissions of one substance
  • Sector emission trends - investigate monthly and yearly trends in emissions of one substance
  • Geographic comparison - compare emissions of multiple substances in different locations.

To select substances, geographical areas, sectors and units click on the menu icon as shown in Figure 1.

 Screen capture Figure 1: Web tool menu selections

Figure 1: Web tool menu selections

In most views, additional information (for instance percentage contribution to the total emissions) is displayed when the mouse cursor is positioned over the bars or pie slices as shown in Figure 2.

Screen capture - Human v Natural Emissions 2008 - bar graph

Figure 2: Web tool hover over information

Whenever the mouse pointer changes to a hand, a function or action is available by left mouse clicking that item.

Web tool fact sheets

Fact sheets and information on substances, geographical areas, sectors and activities, and emission units, and frequently asked questions are available below:

Web tool database

A Microsoft Access database containing the emissions data used in the web tool is available below:

Emissions vs ambient air quality

When interpreting the information from the web tool, it is important to understand the relationship between emissions and ambient air quality is quite complex and influenced by a number of factors. How these emissions are dispersed, transported and transformed depends primarily on:

  • meteorology (wind speed and direction, temperature, sunlight and rainfall) - high wind speeds tend to dilute emissions, while wind direction dictates where they are transported. Medium and long range transport of emissions may also impact on local air quality when emissions from a large distant source are transported by wind. Temperature and sunlight play a key role in atmospheric reactions
  • topography (surrounding terrain) - this can either trap emissions, influence how they disperse or determine the direction they are transported
  • atmospheric reactions - in addition to primary emissions, secondary pollutants, such as photochemical smog (ground-level ozone) or secondary particulate matter (inorganic sulfates, nitrates and secondary organic aerosols (SOA)) can also be formed
  • source type (either point or area) - the influence of a particular emission source on local air quality tends to decrease with distance from the source. Substances may be emitted from a point source, like a boiler chimney, or over a wider area such as diffuse motor vehicle emissions in an urban road network.

While the web tool provides information on the key emission sources in a geographical area, it cannot be directly used to estimate local air quality. You can either view updated hourly ambient concentrations , AQI values or search and download historical air quality data where you live.

Launch web tool

You can launch the Air Emissions in My Community web tool to view or download emissions data. 

Please note when you first launch the web tool, the application may:

  • ask for local storage on your computer
  • take 30 to 60 seconds to load depending on your computer's specification and internet connection speed.

On subsequent uses of the web tool, the application will load in less than 5 seconds.


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