With most of the western U.S. on fire, it might be beneficial to have a weather station on hand, especially one that can also monitor particulate matter floating in the air, as some may find it hard to breathe in the adverse conditions. That said, software engineer Giovanni Bernardo has designed a weather and particulate monitoring station that can be accessed from the cloud, meaning the station can operate remotely if needed.
The WePaRT (Weather and Particulate Recorder-Transmitter) is built around a LoRa32 module that offers long-range communication over Wi-Fi, and an ESP32 controller to garner data from the system's sensors, which include temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and fine dust. The particulate matter is known to have an enormous impact on air quality, which is becoming of great interest, especially at a time when a respiratory pandemic has taken the globe.
The WePaRT air quality sensor is an exciting piece of hardware that Bernardo goes into great detail on how it functions, which uses a fan to route air by a laser-based mechanism to collect data on particle counts. The base station is equipped with an OLED display that shows real-time data, but the ESP32 also allows users to utilize the same information in the cloud. What's more, the data is saved on an SD card that's continually updated to provide readings at particular time intervals.
Bernardo has uploaded a well-documented walkthrough of his WePaRT monitoring platform on his blog for those interested in recreating it.