Air Quality Program to Pick Up the Pace This Year

By: Joseph Hewitt and Timothy Duda, Air Quality Team

The upcoming year 2005 offers some challenging endeavors for the National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine.  One of these challenging endeavors is the expanding role the National Weather Service will play in air quality.  The National Weather Service unveiled a new Air Quality program in 2004, and this program offers some exciting challenges in the years to come.

The National Weather Service in cooperation with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) will be disseminating air quality messages on NOAA’s All-Hazards Weather Radio.  The MDEP issues air quality forecasts daily for the state of Maine. When the MDEP issues a message stating unhealthy air quality, the National Weather Service in Caribou will then issue a message on NOAA’s All-Hazards Weather Radio about the unhealthy quality of the air.  This message that the National Weather Service will issue is called an Air Stagnation Advisory.  This message will include particle pollution, current ozone levels, and the possible risks to the public.  This message will be aired for a 24 hour period on NOAA’s All-Hazards Weather Radio or until it is replaced by a new message.

For more information on Air Quality, one can go to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection website at www.maine.gov.  In the next issue on this newsletter, we hope to discuss the different sites around the region that monitor air quality, particularly particle pollution and ground level ozone.