We released our 2020 first quarter air quality monitoring results today. The Government of Alberta calculates the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) using data collected at seven of FAP’s air monitoring stations. Results show AQHI in the Airshed registered low risk readings at least 80% of the time, with Lamont County having the highest percentage of low risk readings and Gibbons the lowest. Risk to health increases as the index rises.
None of the stations recorded hours in the very high risk range while only 11 hours were recorded at the high risk level. Almost all of the 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 warmer air above.
As a comparison, results from the first quarter of 2019 are provided on the next page. There were 55 fewer hours of high risk level in 2020 when compared to the first quarter in 2019. This is mainly due to the reduction in the number of days the region experienced winter inversions during Q1 of 2020.