How is the Air Quality Index measured?

Weather Questions with Cody Nickel

Although you may not be able to see it, there are millions of tiny particles in our air!

While many of those particles don’t bother us, there are some that can cause environmental and health problems – particularly to children with asthma or heart disease. The Environmental Protection Agency developed the Air Quality index to measure and monitor certain pollutants.

Those pollutants measured are: carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone.

Carbon monoxides and nitrogen oxides are mainly from transportation and fuel combustion.

Particulate matter includes things like dust, smoke and pollen….and sulfur dioxide comes primarily from burning coal and oil.

As far as ozone – Weather plays a significant role. On hot, sunny and calm days – ozone levels tend to be higher.

The Air Quality Index indicates which pollutant is the highest that day. It is broken up into six levels on a scale of 0 to 500. The lower the number, the healthier the air quality.

When the AQI is 0 to 50, it is good. When it is 51-100, moderate. Anything above 100 is unhealthy. And once levels range from 301 to 500, the air quality is hazardous and everyone (whether sensitive or not) should do their best to avoid outdoor exercise and activities.

The air quality is measured with monitors across the nation. 

For a local forecast on air quality or more information click here

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