Air Quality Index, Ozone Watches/Alerts, and Health Advisories
The Air Quality Index
The Air Quality Index, or AQI, is a system of colors and numbers used to communicate the air quality in a region. The AQI color scheme starts with green for healthy air through maroon for the unhealthiest level. Likewise, AQI numbers go from healthiest (0-50) to unhealthiest (300+).
The AQI can be used in a number of ways. DEQ uses it to forecast expected conditions for the day. Each day our forecasters attempt to predict the most likely air quality conditions for the day and display that data in the form of the AQI. Each AQI color has a descriptor statement that informs the public of any necessary precautions to take.
Since ozone is a particularly troublesome pollutant in Oklahoma, we make a special forecast for it. Each day we check the weather forecast, current ozone levels and available ozone models to try to forecast ozone concentrations across the state. Ozone watches/alerts are called on days when tomorrow’s ozone concentrations could reach levels unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange) or worse on the AQI. When an Ozone Watch/Alert is issued, a banner will appear on the DEQ Home Page. Information will be provided there to indicate what parts of the state are forecasted to be affected.
Unlike weather, high ozone is not inevitable. You can take steps to reduce your contribution to ozone formation on an Ozone Watch/Alert day. Individual actions can add up to reduce ozone pollution.
If an ozone watch/alert is called for the next day, you will see a notification here.
Air Quality Health Advisories
An Air Quality Health Advisory is a graphic email/text notification which tells the subscriber air pollution levels are currently unhealthy for sensitive groups or worse. Health Advisories may be issued for any monitored criteria pollutant that reaches unhealthy levels, but usually ozone and inhalable particulate matter (PM) are the pollutants of concern. DEQ bases advisories on data collected by DEQ, supplemented with tribal and regional data.
Health advisories are helpful for sensitive individuals and anyone else to plan their outdoor and/or strenuous activities.