Fort Air Partnership (FAP) provides a place for curious minds to find data on air quality.
FAP’s website contains real time and forecasts Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) values for Lamont County, Fort Saskatchewan, Bruderheim, Gibbons, Elk Island National Park and Redwater.
Those viewing the live data graphs could see spikes due to an increased level of pollutants in the air.
These graphs also include an option to turn on the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objective values, to see how the recorded levels compare to the objectives.
“There are several pollutants that go into the air quality health index calculation,” said FAP executive director Nadine Blaney.
In Alberta the AQHI is calculated using fine particulate matter (PM2.5), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulphide (H2S) data.
“When the AQHI goes into the high or very high risk levels it is usually due to forest fires in the summer months (increased PM2.5 levels) or temperature inversions in the winter months (again increased PM2.5 levels),” said Blaney.
Industrial emissions stay fairly constant throughout the year, while fireplaces, wood stoves and idling vehicles all contribute to higher levels of fine particular matter and other pollutants in the winter.
Fort Air recently released their fourth quarter report summarizing the last three months of 2017.
Those results can be found here.