Implementing the Air Quality Health Index in Alberta - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Implementing the Air Quality Health Index in Alberta

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  1. Implementing the Air Quality Health Index in Alberta Richard Sharkey Alberta Environment

  2. What is the AQHI? • A tool designed to help you understand what the air quality around you means to your health • It is intended to provide you with the information you need to protect your health by: • limiting short-term exposure to air pollution during air quality events • adjusting your activity levels during air pollution events

  3. What is the AQHI? • It is also intended to also provide advice on how you can improve the quality of the air you breathe • especially in urban areas • It is reported on a scale of 1 to 10+, with higher numbers indicating a higher health risk (similar to the UV index) • Being implemented across Canada

  4. Air Quality Health Index Red Deer 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 + Risk: Low Moderate High Very High (1 - 3) (4 - 6) (7 - 10) (Above 10) Current 2 Low Risk Observed at 1:00 PM MDT Tuesday 19 April 2011 • At-Risk Population • Enjoy your usual outdoor activities. • Find out if you are at risk. • General Population • Ideal air quality for outdoor activities. What is the AQHI? • Provides current air quality conditions

  5. Forecast Maximums Issued at 4:00 AM MDT Tuesday 19 April 2011 Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday 2 Low Risk 5 Moderate Risk 2 Low Risk Health Message Health Message Health Message Who is at risk? People with heart and lung conditions are most affected by air pollution. To find out if you are at risk, consult the health guide, your physician, or your local health authority. Visit the national AQHI Web site to learn more about the AQHI. Did you know…? To reduce air pollution, you should limit the use of small gas-powered machines such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws and snow-blowers. What is the AQHI? • Provides an air quality forecast

  6. Standard AQHI Messaging

  7. Why is Alberta changing the air quality index? • Driven by stakeholder interest • the need for consistency across the country • Collaborating with federal government to make the AQHI more useful for Alberta • Add messaging for odour (H2S, SO2) and visibility (PM2.5) • The AQHI value will change when there is an exceedance of an Alberta air quality objective • The Alberta AQHI will better account for rapidly changing air quality

  8. How will we improve the national AQHI for Alberta? • National AQHI based on 3-hour rolling average and includes PM2.5, O3 and NO2 • Alberta AQHI will also include SO2, H2S, TRS and CO • “Trumping” in the case of exceedances of Alberta’s Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAQOs) • Odour and Visibility effect messaging

  9. “Trumping” the AQHI • If Alberta’s one-hour Ambient Air Quality Objectives are exceeded • 80 μg/m3 for PM2.5 – 172 ppb for SO2 • 82 ppb for O3 – 13 ppm for CO • 159 ppb for NO2 – 1 ppm for H2S or TRS • The AQHI value will be replaced with the a value of 7 or greater and air quality will be rated as High Risk • Will respond quicker to rapidly changing air quality • forest fire smoke (high PM) • smog events (high ozone)

  10. Messaging for Odour and Visibility • While you may detect an odour or change in visibility or clarity, enjoy your outdoor activities unless you experience symptoms. • This additional messaging will be added if the AQHI is Low or Moderate Risk and the and levels of pollutants exceed the following thresholds: • 25 μg/m3 for PM2.5 (visibility) • 100 ppb for SO2 (odour) • 10 ppb for H2S or TRS (odour) • Messaging will be issued during visibility and major odour events

  11. What does this mean for Calgary? • 2010 results • Low Risk 78.27% of the time • Moderate Risk 21.10% of the time • High Risk 0.55% of the time • Very High Risk 0.08% of the time • How often would an odour/visibility message be issued in 2010? • 660 hours (7.54%) • How often would the AQHI be trumped? • 14 hours (0.16%)

  12. Implementation in Alberta • Alberta Environment will be reporting the AQHI at all current AQI stations • 23 locations • The transition will take place in June 2011 on Alberta Environment's air quality website • Environment Canada will begin forecasting the AQHI at 5 locations in June 2011 • Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Fort McMurray and Fort McKay • Other areas of Alberta will have forecasting phased in beginning in Fall 2011

  13. Fort McKay Syncrude UE1 Fort Chipewyan Wood Buffalo Environmental Association Fort McMurray-(PM) Fort McMurray-(AV) Anzac Wood Buffalo Stations Peace Airshed Zone Association Beaverlodge Grande Prairie Lakeland Industry and Community Association Fort Air Partnership Cold Lake Bruderheim Fort Saskatchewan Lamont Edmonton East St. Lina Edmonton Central Elk Island Hightower Ridge Edmonton South Steeper Alberta Capital Airshed Alliance West Central Airshed Society Tomahawk Genesee Red Deer Caroline Parkland Airshed Management Zone Edmonton & Area Stations Legend AQHI Reporting Stations Other Ambient Stations Airsheds Calgary Northwest Palliser Airshed Society Calgary Central Calgary Region Airshed Zone Medicine Hat Lethbridge * Stations include Alberta Environment, Environment Canada, and Airshed ambient stations, but not Industry stations. AlbertaStations

  14. Airshed Involvement • First and foremost – Data Submission & Transfer • EC requires data by 30 minutes past the hour • Many AB stations currently do not make this cut on a consistent basis • AENV will be making changes to speed data transfer • Educating airsheds on the AQHI • Airsheds can, in turn, educate their stakeholders

  15. Communications Strategy • How do we get from this… • AQHI=1000/10.4*(EXP(0.000871*NO2)-1 +EXP(0.000537*O3)-1 +EXP(0.000487*PM2.5)-1)) • … to this • Is the air quality affecting your health? • How is the air affecting you today? • What is the air like in your community today?

  16. Proposed Key Messages • Air quality affects everyone • Some people will experience a greater health impact • There are actions you can take to protect your health

  17. Summary • National Air Quality Health Index will be implemented in Alberta beginning in June • The Alberta version will contain improvements over the national AQHI • Government will need stakeholder support for effective deliver • Other provinces are watching Alberta’s progress

  18. Questions? Email: