In this paper we present the development and application of a real time atmospheric pressure discharge monitoring diagnostic. The software based diagnostic is designed to extract latent electrical and optical information associated with the operation of an atmospheric pressure dielectric barrier discharge (APDBD) over long time scales. Given that little is known about long term temporal effects in such discharges, the diagnostic methodology is applied to the monitoring of an APDBD in helium and helium with both 0.1% nitrogen and 0.1% oxygen gas admixtures over periods of tens of minutes. Given the large datasets associated with the experiments, it is shown that this process is much expedited through the novel application of multivariate correlations between the electrical and optical parameters of the corresponding chemistries which, in turn, facilitates comparisons between each individual chemistry also. The results of these studies show that the electrical and optical parameters of the discharge in helium and upon the addition of gas admixtures evolve over time scales far longer than the gas residence time and have been compared to current modelling works. It is envisaged that the diagnostic together with the application of multivariate correlations will be applied to rapid system identification and prototyping in both experimental and industrial APDBD systems in the future.