NOAA Helps You Breathe Easier 

Be Air Aware Poster.

High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Whether commuting to work or out for an evening jog in the park, almost every aspect of our daily lives is affected by the air we breathe. That’s why it’s so important to know when pollutants, natural and man-made, collect in the air and threaten our quality of life.

Particle pollution (dust, dirt, soot, and smoke), which occurs year round, and ground-level ozone, which occurs mostly in the summer, can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems — contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. Poor air quality also reduces visibility and contributes to acid rain as well as damage to animals, crops, plants, and many other natural resources.

Be Air Aware

NOAA’s National Weather Service, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is celebrating Air Quality Awareness week from April 28 to May 2. And we’d like to encourage all Americans to “Be Air Aware” and check their local air quality predictions as they plan their daily activities.

Same view on a smoggy day (pictured above) compared to clear day after cold weather front moved through (pictured below).

High Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA’s air quality forecasts provide hourly information about the onset, severity, and duration of poor air quality to more than 280 million people every day. State and local air quality forecasters use this information a principal tool in issuing next-day air quality alerts to more than 300 communities throughout the U.S.

For many individuals — especially babies, children, seniors, outdoor workers, and those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory/cardiovascular problems — knowing air quality levels ahead of time improves their quality of life by giving them enough time to take steps to limit their exposure. Other stakeholders, such as environmental policy makers and resource managers, also use air quality forecasts to make decisions on how to better manage emissions reduction programs, anticipate poor visibility and develop other environmental protection steps.

Air Quality Facts

Have a seat, take a deep breath, and take a look at a few facts we bet you did not know about NOAA and air quality:

Help Improve Your Air Quality

There are things you can do to reduce air pollution at home and in your travels! 

At Home:

On the Road:

  • Choose Alternative Transportation. Consider walking, biking, carpooling or using public transportation to help to reduce emissions.
  • Drive Less Frequently. If you have to drive, limit engine idling and reduce travel distance by combining errands.
  • Keep it in the Tank. Wait until after 6 p.m. to fill up at the gas station to avoid releasing fumes during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Maintain Your Vehicle. Regularly changing oil and air filters can reduce particle emissions from your car. Properly inflating your tires helps increase fuel efficiency, thus reducing exhaust emissions. NOAA logo.