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Current Air Quality

There are a number of sites we look at and recommend to you for current air quality.  You can also sign up for alerts as explained here.

  1. First go to where they have a forecast AQI map and current AQI.  The forecast is for the current day if you check in the morning or midday, and then it is for the next day if you check in the evening. LINK TO AIRNOW.GOV
  2. If you would like more information beyond, there are a number of resources available to you, depending on what you’re interested in:
  • Latest AQI values near Dubuque.  The nearest monitor to Dubuque is in Potosi, Wisconsin, 13 miles from Dubuque.  The air quality in Potosi is usually a good indicator of the air quality in Dubuque.
  • Actual monitor readings:
  • Visibility
  • Air quality over North America:
    • One real-time visualization is from  Warning, sometimes can be slow!
    • The Smog Blog is a daily commentary on US air quality from the staff, students, and faculty at UMBC.
    • The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) has a website that features satellite-derived information on air quality — it is called the IDEA website.  Sometimes it can be a bit technical, but you can address your questions to if you need help interpreting what you see.
  • Effect of fires and dust on air quality
  • Global air quality
    • For current air quality, the aiqcn project serves as a clearinghouse and visualization tool.  Warning, sometimes can be slow!  But here are their links for global map, Asia, and Europe.
    • For average air quality by location, the mapping shown at this website is the best resource.   You will need Google Earth installed to view the .kmz files.
  • Interested in Ozone?
    • Air Quality Guide for Ozone
    • CLE4R has a strong focus on particulate matter pollution.  Especially in summer, Iowa can exceed the 70 parts per billion (over 8 hours) standard of the EPA.  This section of the airnow website separates the AQI by the particulate matter (PM) contribution and the ozone contribution.  And EPA has a national map of all the AQI values.  Use the tabs to select PM for particles, or ozone.
    • Detailed ozone model forecasts are available from NOAA.  There is a simple view here where you can mouse over different future hours to see a map of the prediction.   A more full featured map is available here.  The site will also give a prediction for future ozone, smoke and dust at a single point.  Here is the link for the Dubuque prediction.
  • Satellite Imagery:
    • With this application, you can interactively browse global satellite imagery only several hours before real time. Link to NASA Worldview.

Have a favorite site that you think should be included in this list? Or a useful cell phone app for air quality?  Let us know at

Many of these sites use the Air Quality Index (AQI), which is explained a bit below.  AQI is used by government agencies to tell the public how clean or polluted the air currently is. EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Corresponding to different levels of health concerns, the AQI is divided into six categories:







Last modified on March 28th, 2017
Posted on October 3rd, 2015