What is the Air Quality Index?

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People walk across 6th Avenue in Manhattan on Wednesday as haze and smoke caused by wildfires in Canada blanket New York City. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Folks stroll throughout sixth Avenue in Manhattan on Wednesday as haze and smoke attributable to wildfires in Canada blanket New York Metropolis. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

“What’s your AQI?”

— Everybody on the East Coast rn

With smoke from Canadian wildfires triggering air high quality alerts in additional than a dozen U.S. states, tens of millions of People have all of a sudden grow to be intimately conversant in the Air High quality Index, or AQI, a color-coded numerical scale that helps individuals perceive the well being dangers and exposures to airborne pollution at any given time.

The Environmental Safety Company has a web-based dashboard (AirNow.gov) the place you’ll be able to kind in your location (or any location) to seek out out the AQI.

“The U.S. Air High quality Index is getting a whole lot of media consideration proper now, however it’s actually improbable,” Dr. Brady Scott, a fellow on the American Affiliation for Respiratory Care, informed Yahoo Information. “As a result of you’ll be able to simply plug in your zip code and type of perceive the air high quality is the place you are at.”

President Biden displays a printout of the U.S. Air Quality Index for Washington, D.C., at the White House on Thursday. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool via Reuters).

President Biden shows a printout of the U.S. Air High quality Index for Washington, D.C., on the White Home on Thursday. (Kevin Lamarque/Pool through Reuters).

The so-called AirNow system was created by the EPA in 1998 to function a “centralized, nationwide repository” for real-time information collected by native, state and federal businesses, together with the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Nationwide Park Service, NASA and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

And the next Air High quality Index (AQI) measures the quantity of air pollution within the air on a 0-500 scale, with the upper quantity signaling the next focus of the next pollution regulated by the Clear Air Act:

• Floor-level ozone

• Particle air pollution (often known as particulate matter)

• Carbon monoxide

• Sulfur dioxide

• Nitrogen dioxide

The wildfires in Canada are releasing excessive concentrations of superb particulate matter (with diameters lower than 2.5 micrometers, just about invisible to the bare eye) into air that has drifted south, inflicting the AQI in states from Vermont to South Carolina to spike.

The Manhattan skyline on Wednesday

The Manhattan skyline on Wednesday. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

In New York Metropolis on Wednesday, for instance, the AQI peaked at 405, the very best stage since recordkeeping started, based on an evaluation of EPA information by Fox Climate. The earlier file — 279 — was set in July 1981.

Any quantity over 100 is taken into account “unhealthy” for delicate teams, resembling kids or individuals with coronary heart or lung ailments. When the AQI goes above 200, everybody, even these with out respiratory circumstances, is in danger.

Or you’ll be able to simply go by the colours.

“If it’s inexperienced or yellow, it’s OK for most people,” Brady defined. “When it’s orange, there’s concern that some individuals, particularly these with respiratory circumstances, might be impacted. Whenever you’re within the pink zone and definitely once we’re within the purple or maroon zones, everyone seems to be in danger, even if you’re a so-called wholesome individual.”

For those who haven’t accomplished so already, you’ll be able to lookup your present AQI on the AirNow.gov web site right here >>>

Tourists document the haze in Times Square

Vacationers doc the haze in Occasions Sq.. (Maye-E Wong/Reuters)

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