Exploring Real Time Air Quality Monitoring Data

The AQI or Air Quality Index is a measure of how much pollution is in the air in a given location at a given time of day. Many cities have constant, real time air quality monitoring so that they are able to alert the public when air quality is unhealthy. This data also can be useful to compare the effectiveness of specific actions and laws. In this week’s assignment, you will be exploring this data, which helpfully has been mapped for you.

Part 1: Look at Global Air Quality Data

Go to the global AQI map found here; http://aqicn.org/here/
Find your city (Spokane Washington) and click to show the whole report. Keep scrolling down the page to get all the information that you’ll need for the rest of this assignment.

Answer the questions below and upload your completed assignment.

Zoom in on your city/town or enter it into the search box at the top right. What is the color and value of the Air Quality Index where you live?
Was that surprising to you? Why or why not?
The AQI is based on the values of 5 pollutants. What are those 5 pollutants?
For each of the 5 pollutants, list 1 or more sources of that pollutant (this information can be found in this week’s reading or the video on air pollutant types).
What time of day are PM (particulate matter) concentrations the lowest? When are they the highest?
Why do you think these concentrations change throughout the day?
Now zoom out. What places in the United States currently have unhealthy air quality? Why do you think this is?
Zoom out further. What places in the world currently have unhealthy air quality? Why do you think this is?
What should you do when air quality in your area is unhealthy?
There are a few days per year when Seattle’s AQI is unhealthy. What are some things that might cause there to be poor air quality in a city that normally has clean air?

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