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“Ozone Season” is March to November for air quality professionals. Sunlight, light winds, and warmer temperatures give emissions from automobiles and industrial facilities an opportunity to intermingle and create a kind of air soup some call "smog".
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Air Quality Division meteorologists and specialists monitor ozone concentrations across the state and issue an Ozone Watch when we forecast elevated levels of ozone. When air quality monitors actually report elevated levels, DEQ issues an email message we call an Air Quality Health Advisory.
But ozone isn't the only air pollutant the public needs to know about. The federal government continues to lower air pollutant standards to more stringent levels because there is evidence that ozone, fine particulate matter (PM), PM10, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are more harmful to humans at lower levels than previously thought. Research studies also show that rural areas have air pollution events just like urban areas do. This means all Oklahomans may at times be exposed to harmful levels of air pollution.
Air Quality Health Advisories are email notifications that let the public know when air pollution conditions in local areas are of concern. The colors represent the division's best estimate of pollutant concentrations based on near real time data from both state and tribal air quality monitors. They are taken from the national Air Quality Index (AQI), described in the table below, which relates concentrations of air pollution to a level of concern for health. Green represents good conditions; yellow, moderate conditions; orange, unhealthy for sensitive groups; red, unhealthy; purple, very unhealthy; and, maroon, hazardous.
This information is of growing importance to everyone but may be especially helpful to moms and dads with asthmatic children and for individuals who are sensitive to air pollution. Sensitive individuals include people with heart or respiratory disease, older persons, and children along with people who normally work or play outdoors. The advisories help Oklahomans make real time decisions based on real time information to avoid or reduce their exposure to air pollution every day.
I think someone is polluting the air in my area, what do I do?
Report this immediately to the state's 24-hour Environmental Complaints Hotline at 1-800-522-0206 or you can report it online here...
What does an ozone alert mean?
Each day from April to November, DEQ checks the weather forecast, current ozone levels and available ozone models to try to forecast ozone concentrations across the state. See if Oklahoma is currently under an ozone watch here…
Do alternative fuels actually impact air quality?
Learn more about the use of alternative fuels through the various nationwide "Clean Cities" programs.
How can I stay well informed about changes in air pollution levels in my community?
You can now sign up to receive air quality health advisory updates by clicking here…
What kinds of alternative sources of fuels and energy does Oklahoma have?
Wind, solar, geothermal, natural gas and more, learn more with this quick reference guide…