(KTXL) — There are many different websites that share valuable real-time information regarding the Air Quality Index across California, which can be important to know, especially during wildfire season.
AirNow reports the air quality in your area while also providing air quality at the state, national and world level. One of the site’s tools is an interactive map that lets you zoom out or in to see specific air quality levels in different parts of the world.
The site reports the air quality “using the official U.S. Air Quality Index, a color-coded index designed to communicate whether air quality is healthy or unhealthy for you.”
AirNow is a partner with the “U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Service, NASA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and tribal, state, and local air quality agencies.” All of these different agencies send their air quality levels to AirNow for them to inform the public.
Spare the Air is another agency that shares what the AQI is in your area. However, they also educate residents on what air quality means for their health. According to Spare the Air, “the higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution, which means the greater the health concerns.” If the AQI is relatively high, you should move indoors to reduce your exposure to the air.
The AQI is a scale from 0 to 500, which Spare the Air shows as a color-coded index that AirNow also uses. Here are the following AQI categories:
- A good AQI is color-coded as green and ranges anywhere from 0 to 50, where no health impacts are expected.
- A moderate AQI is color-coded as yellow and ranges anywhere from 51 to 100, where “people who have a unique sensitivity to air pollution should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.”
- An AQI of 101 to 150 is color-coded orange and deemed unhealthy for sensitive groups such as people with heart or lung disease. Spare the Air said that during this AQI older adults and children should limit their outdoor activities since they are at a greater risk.
- An unhealthy AQI is color-coded red and ranges anywhere from 151 to 200 where everyone may start to experience health effects and should limit their outdoor activities.
- A very unhealthy air quality is color-coded purple and ranges from 201 to 300 where “everyone may experience more serious health effects and should avoid all outdoor exertion.”
- A hazardous air quality is color-coded maroon and ranges anywhere from 301 to 500. During that time, “the entire population is more likely to experience serious health effects and should avoid all outdoor exertion.” maroon
IQAir gives the AQI of the region that you are in and uses the color-coded index as well. While it gives a real-time AQI, it also gives the day-to-day and hourly history of the region as well. Within IQAir, you can look at the real-time AQI for specific locations within the Sacramento region.
IQAir gives statistics and analysis of the region that you are living in, with the option to look at other areas in the world. There is also a news feature where you can read about air pollution in different parts of the world. Spare the Air, the California Air Resources Board, and Coalition for Clean Air all contribute to IQAir’s information.
National Weather Service Twitter accounts for different regions across the United States usually tweet updates regarding the air quality in their specific region.
Also, most smartphones have a built-in AQI program that runs through their weather application. The air quality information that they receive is gathered from BreezoMeter.
Knowing the AQI allows you to prepare and stay healthy.