Our air quality monitoring results show the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) in our Airshed was of low risk to health at least 89% of the time during the first three months of 2021. Elk Island had the highest percentage of low risk readings and Fort Saskatchewan the lowest. Risk to health increases as the index rises. The Government of Alberta calculates the AQHI using data collected at seven of FAP’s air monitoring stations.
There were no occurrences of very high risk AQHI ratings at our stations and only one occurrence of a high risk rating. The high risk occurrence was due to a wintertime temperature inversion, a weather condition where cold air along with pollutants is trapped near the ground by a layer of warmer air above.
As a comparison, there were 10 more occurrences of high risk AQHI ratings in 2020 when compared to the first quarter of 2021. This is mainly due to the higher number of days that the region experienced winter temperature inversions during Q1 of 2020.
*The portable station was moved from Chipman to Sturgeon County in June, 2020.