Air Quality Awareness Week - Part 3 - Real-Time Oklahoma Air Quality

So now that we have covered a little bit about the history of air pollution and air regulations, and a little bit about the pollutants and Oklahoma trends, we get to find out what is happening here and now.

The first interesting tidbit is that there is such a thing as air quality forecast; this is similar to weather forecasting. The best place to see the forecast right now is to use AirNow – they have nifty infographics for particulates and ozone. I heard a rumor that AirNow’s forecasting will soon be discontinued? Well, I’m not sure on that.

If the air quality is anticipated to bad the next day, the Oklahoma DEQ calls an Ozone Watch. The purpose of this is to allow people to adjust their plans if necessary, and hopefully to encourage folks to take measures to help prevent ozone formation for that day. Ozone Watches are often broadcast on the news, but you can find out about them on the DEQ’s website. Tulsa has Ozone Alerts, which are basically the same thing.

But what is the air RIGHT NOW? AirNow has cool infographics for this as well; you can even loop the time period the way you can with weather radars and watch the pollution move across the landscape like a storm of approaching ozone! (This is most noticeable during the summer months)

If you are interested in exact measured values, or if you are curious about current levels of other pollutants, you can view the data from all of Oklahoma’s air quality monitors online in near-real-time.
Photo of McClain County Ozone Monitor

To research how local weather conditions may be affecting the air contaminants, you can cross-reference data from the air quality monitors with weather data from the nearest Oklahoma Mesonet or Weather Underground station. (The Mesonet stations will be more defensible for serious study, but Weather Underground may have stations that are nearer to the desired location)

If you are mostly concerned about ozone and particulates for health reasons, the easiest way to stay updated is to sign up for Health Advisories. You can do this through the DEQ website, and when the air quality in your county hits levels of concern, you will immediately be notified via email.

I hope you found this series of Air Quality Awareness Week posts interesting and informative! Go forth, padawans, and breathe deep! (To listen to a goofy hippie song about air pollution on YouTube, click here)

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