What is the average AQI in New York City on a normal day?

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Before/After image above from Newsweek

As fierce wildfires raged in Canada, the billowing smoke enveloped a vast expanse of the eastern United States. Impacted was New York City who flew past Tel Aviv, Israel, Dhaka, Bangladesh and New Dehli, India to according to World Air Quality Ranking index from IQ Air.

The plunging air quality caused a distressing state for countless individuals in the region and in the United States’ most-populous city. The acrid atmosphere provided an eerie hue upon skylines that were posted on social media, as municipal authorities issued warnings for people to seek refuge indoors.

A staggering 128 million people found themselves subject to air quality alerts on Wednesday night, owing to the dual menace of wildfire smoke and ozone across the United States. Concerning the smoke alone, approximately 100 million individuals were placed under alerts spanning 16 states.

What is the normal AQI in NYC?

In New York City, the nation’s most populous metropolis, the average air quality remains remarkably clean. Though we don’t have an average daily AQI, we do know that the city has consistently maintained an air quality index (AQI) below 50 from 2017-2019 according to IQ Air.

Looking at the few couple weeks prior to the Canadian wildfires, New York City’s AQI was often in the 30’s with a couple swings up into the 60’s which was a far cry from the 150+ AQI the denizens saw on June 5th, 6th, and 7th.

The Normal AQI in NYC
Date Day AQI Rating
11-May Thur 75 Moderate
12-May Fri 62 Moderate
13-May Sat 38 Good
14-May Sun 31 Good
15-May Thur 34 Good
16-May Mon 35 Good
17-May Tue 30 Good
18-May Wed 32 Good
19-May Thur 25 Good
20-May Thu 54 Moderate
21-May Fri 72 Moderate
22-May Sat 50 Good
23-May Thur 31 Good
24-May Sun 26 Good
25-May Mon 25 Good
26-May Tue 33 Good
27-May Thur 32 Good
28-May Wed 40 Good
29-May Thu 49 Good
30-May Fri 38 Good
31-May Thur 66 Moderate
1-Jun Sat 61 Moderate
2-Jun Sun 63 Moderate
3-Jun Mon 15 Good
4-Jun Thur 21 Good
5-Jun Tue 144* Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
6-Jun Wed 195* Unhealthy
7-Jun Thu 183* Unhealthy
8-Jun Thur 66 Moderate
9-Jun Thur 32 Good

Removing those three days impacted by the wildfires, the average daily AQI for New York City was 42.09 over the non-wildfire days between May 11-June 09, 2023.

Obviously daily average only consider 27 days in the city without factoring weather patterns, car, truck and bus activity, chemical manufacturing, general human activity and other small to large events that increase and decrease AQI and pollutant concentrations that may or may not have affected the AQI.

Whether our very small sample size is an actual typical AQI for NYC is in question, but it’s what we got until we can find more comprehensive data.

For those unfamiliar with what a 50 AQI means, that number is a classification deemed “good” according to the rigorous standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Such consistently favorable readings signify that the air poses minimal risk to the health and well-being of the city’s residents and visitors alike.

View from Avenue of Americas at 1:40pm on June 7, 2023

How to Check AQI on the Daily

The AQI is a measure of air quality that is used to determine how clean or polluted the air is and the associated health effects. It typically ranges from 0 to 500, with higher values indicating poorer air quality.

To find the current AQI in New York City on a normal day, you can visit the following sources:

  1. The official website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA provides real-time air quality data for cities across the United States. The EPA’s website AirNow allows you to search for the current AQI in specific locations. You can select New York City or enter your zip code to access the latest air quality information.
  2. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC): The NYSDEC operates an air quality monitoring network and provides regular updates on air quality conditions in different regions of New York, including New York City. Their website (www.dec.ny.gov) offers air quality data and forecasts.
  3. Weather websites and mobile apps: Many weather-related platforms provide air quality information alongside weather forecasts. Websites such as Weather.com, AccuWeather.com, or Weather Underground may include AQI data for New York City.
  4. Local news and media outlets: Local news channels, newspapers, and radio stations often report on air quality conditions in major cities. Checking their websites or listening to their broadcasts can provide you with up-to-date information on the AQI in New York City.

Remember to refer to the most recent and reliable sources to obtain accurate and current information on the AQI in New York City.

Other references: Canadian Wildland Fire Information System

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