The plot shows the haze concentration measured at Table Mountain observatory a few miles north of Boulder. The PM2.5 mass concentration is estimated from optical measurements of particle light scattering coefficient using a mass scattering efficiency of 3 m2/g. The EBC concentration is estimated from filter-based measurements of particle light absorption coefficient using a mass absorption efficiency of 6 m2/g.
To put this plot in context, the US EPA classifies air quality based on 24h averages of PM2.5 concentrations on the following scale:
≤ 12 μg/m3 = good
12-35.4 < μg/m3 = moderate
35.5-55.4 μg/m3 = unhealthy for sensitive groups
55.5-150.4 μg/m3 = unhealthy
150.5-250.4 μg/m3 = very unhealthy
≥ 250.5 μg/m3 = hazardous
You can see the corresponding air quality index (AQI) values at AirNow. Note that the PM2.5 values shown on the plot above are just estimates and are not an official measurement.
Models can help identify sources of haze when the source is not obvious.
Below are some links to aerosol model output for TODAY
More information about smoke and air quality can be found at the EPA Particulate Matter web page.
NOAA's Global Monitoring Laboratory measures the climate-forcing properties of atmospheric particles at a
global network of monitoring stations.
Instruments from this network are maintained by NOAA's Global Monitoring Laboratory in Boulder, CO.
Plots of the raw number concentration, aerosol light scattering and absorption measurements at Table Mountain are available from GML's Aerosol program. Please refer questions about the aerosol measurements to Dr. Patrick Sheridan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surface ozone measurements are also made at Table Mountain by GMD's Ozone and Water Vapor group. Please refer questions about the ozone measurements to Dr. Irina Petropavlovskikh, email@example.com.