Fort Air Partnership’s first quarter Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) results for 2018 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, 2018. The Government of Alberta calculates the AQHI using data collected at FAP’s air monitoring stations.
AQHI at FAP’s six 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 27 hours were recorded at the high risk level. The vast majority of high risk occurrences were due to wintertime inversions, a weather condition where cold air along with pollutants is trapped near the ground by a layer of warm air.
As a comparison, results from first three months of 2017 are provided below.
The significant difference in results between the first quarters of 2018 and 2017 can largely be attributed to weather conditions in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region during the first quarter of 2018, particularly during March. From March 5 – 25, 2018, several of FAP’s stations recorded moderate or high readings for at least a few hours each day. Increased AQHI ratings were also observed throughout the Edmonton Metropolitan Region during that time.