Air quality forecasting involves the use of science and technology to predict the concentration of air pollution in the atmosphere for a given location and time. IDEM meteorologists work in conjunction with air quality professionals from local metropolitan areas and neighboring states to review air quality monitored data, evaluate weather patterns, and forecast air quality for areas within Indiana and metropolitan areas in adjacent states (i.e., Louisville, Kentucky).
The Office of Air Quality produces daily SmogWatch forecasts for ozone and fine particulates and issues Air Quality Action Day (AQAD) advisories when levels of ozone or fine particulate matter are predicted to build to unhealthy levels over an extended period of time, especially for sensitive groups like children and the elderly.
The daily Air Quality Index (AQI) uses U.S. EPA’s level of concern scale to rate air quality for five criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter and sulfur dioxide) and their health impacts. Indiana’s current AQI and next-day forecasts by region are available on IDEM’s Air Quality Forecasting page.
Local, state, regional and federal forecasting partners include:
- City of Indianapolis, Knozone program, provides education and resources for the improvement of air quality in Central Indiana.
- Louisville, Kentucky, Air Pollution Control District, implements the Federal Clean Air Act in Louisville and works in partnership with the U. S. EPA, the Kentucky Division for Air Quality, and IDEM.
- Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, a division of the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services Department in Cincinnati, Ohio, monitors air quality and regulates industrial air emissions for Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, and Warren counties.
- Northwest Indiana Clean Air, a partnership between Northwest Indiana people and businesses to improve air quality in the region.
- Allen County Department of Health, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, provides air quality education and resources.
- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Air, provides information and resources including air quality monitoring data.
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Air Management Program, provides air quality monitoring data, and education and outreach.
- Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Air Quality Division, provides resources including air quality monitoring data.
- Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Division of Air Pollution Control, provides resources including air monitoring data.
- National Weather Service (NWS) National Air Quality Forecast Capability (NAQFC), provides resources including air quality forecasting guidance and operational predictions.
- U.S. EPA AirNow, provides air health information, air quality maps and data, education, and national and international air quality topics.
- Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium (LADCO), an air quality research and planning organization that works with state, local, and tribal (SLT) air agencies in the Great Lakes region.
Since many factors, such as wildfires, tropical storms, snow cover, as well as other types of weather affect air quality development and the transport (the movement of pollutants by the wind), forecasting involves the review of many different types of information during all times of the year. IDEM forecasters utilize many different resources for information about weather data and events that may impact air, including:
- Weather Models/Maps
- COD Meteorology - NexLab
- National Weather Service 6-Day National Forecast Map
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 7-day National Forecast Map Loop
- NOAA Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts
- National Center for Atmospheric Research – Research Applications Laboratory (RAP) Real-Time Weather Data
- National Weather Service (NWS) Area Forecast Discussions
- NWS Text Forecasts
- Air Quality Forecast Model
- Severe Weather
- IDEM Monitoring
- Tropical Systems
- Air Movement/Trajectories