Fort Air Partnership (FAP), the organization that monitors the air local residents breathe, released 2019 first quarter Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) results today. The Government of Alberta calculates the AQHI using data collected at FAP’s air monitoring stations. Results show air quality in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland was of low risk to health the majority of the time from January 1 to March 31, 2019.
AQHI at FAP’s seven stations registered low risk readings at least 73% of the time, with Lamont County having the highest percentage of low risk readings and Fort Saskatchewan the lowest. Risk to health increases as the index rises. None of the stations recorded hours in the very high risk range while only 66 hours were recorded at the high risk level.
The difference in results between the first quarters of 2019 and 2018 can largely be attributed to wintertime inversions seen at various times throughout the quarter. A wintertime inversion is a weather condition where cold air along with pollutants is trapped near the ground by a layer of warm air above it.
During Q1, 2019 there were 19 one-hour exceedances and 20 24-hour exceedances of Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAAQO). All of the exceedances involved Respirable Particular Matter (PM2.5). See the full summary of Q1, 2019 Air Monitoring Results.