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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 Airnow.gov 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 airnow.gov, 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.
    • The Wisconsin DNR has a color-coded table of current AQI values — look for Grant County / Potosi site.  AQI is all the way on the right.
    • The EPA Airnow site has a table for individual states such as Iowa.  Use the “Local Air Quality Conditions” pulldown menu at the top of the page. It looks like this:

  • Actual monitor readings:
  • Visibility
  • Air quality over North America:
    • Use the EPA national map of all the AQI values.  Use the tabs to select PM for particles, or ozone.   Or for an interactive map of particles we recomment the interactive viewer from the Forest Service.
    • The Smog Blog is a periodic 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 charles-stanier@uiowa.edu if you need help interpreting what you see.  The new site AerosolWatch has potential because it maps aerosols, fires, dust, and smoke from new satellites — but the site is currently very hard to use (July 2018).
  • Effect of fires and dust on air quality

What to select to see smoke from fires over the U.S. in the Blue Sky Run viewer. Select the CONUS 0.15deg 192hrs (GFS-0.15deg) simulation and “Use Latest”

  • Global air quality
    • For current air quality, the aiqcn project serves as a clearinghouse and visualization tool.  Warning, sometimes aiqcn.org 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. Link to NASA Worldview.  We also recommend a GOES-16 satellite imagery viewer such as this one.  The new site AerosolWatch has potential because it maps aerosols, fires, dust, and smoke from new satellites — but the site is currently very hard to use (July 2018).

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 charles-stanier@uiowa.edu.

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:

AQItable

Source: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi

 

 

 

 

Last modified on July 19th, 2018
Posted on October 3rd, 2015