Statisticians have revealed the surprising source of dust that plagues townships beside a Hunter Valley rail line delivering coal to Newcastle’s busy port.
Airborne dust increases as trains pass. But it wasn’t clear exactly how—for example, whether the dust was escaping uncovered coal wagons or coming from the diesel engines pulling the wagons. The answer was surprising.
Mathematicians from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers correlated air-pollution data against information on passing trains and weather conditions.