Air Quality Forecast

​​​Air quality forecasts provided by the Department of the Environment are available through a variety of online resources such as AirNow, Clean Air Partners, National Weather Service, and here on the Department's website. Real-time air quality information can be found using these resources in addition to the Current Air Quality Conditions Map. Air quality notifications can also be sent to your inbox by signing up for Clean Air Partners AirAlerts or AirNow's EnviroFlash. If you have a smartphone, the Clean Air Partners and AirNow apps deliver real-time air quality conditions and forecasts.

What actions should be taken when poor air quality episodes are forecasted? The Air Quality Action Guide can help you choose appropriate actions to reduce your exposure to pollution and to actively participate in minimizing air pollution levels. Remember to do your share for cleaner air!

The Department offers 3-day air quality forecasts for the Metropolitan Baltimore, Metropolitan Washington, Eastern Shore, and Western Maryland regions. These forecasts are available year-round for fine particle pollution and in April - September for ground-level ozone pollution. Ozone becomes a public health concern from late spring through the early fall months as a result of plenty of sunlight and hot temperatures. These air quality forecasts and discussions are prepared by Department meteorologists in partnership with Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ). 

 


History of the Department's Air Quality Forecasting Program

In 2001, the Department of the Environment, Baltimore Metropolitan Council, and regional authorities MWCOG, VADEQ, and Washington DC Department of Health launched an air quality outreach website called "Air-Watch". Air-Watch provided the public with easy access to local and national air quality information by educating citizens about potential health risks related to air pollution. Furthermore, it strived to develop awareness and encourage public participation in finding solutions to air pollution. In 2007, Air-Watch became Clean Air Partners. For more history of the Department's Air Quality Forecasting Program, see the timeline provided below.

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2015

EPA revises the ozone 8-hour average health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and its AQI, effective December 2015.

2012

EPA revises the particulate matter annual health-based NAAQS and the daily fine particle pollution AQI, effective March 2013.

2010

The Department collaborates with local National Weather Service (NWS) offices of Baltimore/Washington, Philadelphia/Mount Holly, and Wakefield, VA to provide Air Quality Alerts on the NWS Map for Maryland and Metropolitan Washington when the Department forecasts poor air quality.

Air quality forecast discussions are now provided for the Metropolitan Baltimore, Western Maryland, and Eastern Shore regions.

2008

The Department partners up with AirNow's EnviroFlash air quality notification program to increase dissemination of air quality forecasts and current air quality conditions to the public. Users can receive notifications via email or text message.

EPA revises the ozone health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) and its AQI, effective May 2008.

2007

Air-Watch is combined and migrated into the improved Clean Air Partners website. Air quality forecasts, notifications, and air quality information are available through the Clean Air Partners website.

2006

The Department expands the air quality forecasting program to the Eastern Shore. The 3-day air quality forecasts are now available state-wide and year-round for the 4 regions: Metropolitan Baltimore, Metropolitan Washington, Western Maryland, and Eastern Shore.

2005

Air quality forecasting program expands operations to include 3-day air quality forecasts year-round. The Department also adds the Western Maryland region to the program. The 3-day air quality forecasts are now available for 3 regions: Metropolitan Baltimore, Metropolitan Washington, and Western Maryland. Additionally, forecast discussions are made available for the Metropolitan Baltimore region.

2004

Summer ozone forecasting program expands to include year-round fine particle pollution and is renamed the Air Quality Forecasting Program. Daily air quality forecasts are now available year-round. Ozone Action Day is changed to Air Quality Action Day reflecting the multi-pollutant emphasis.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) begins to provide operational air quality forecast model guidance. These guidance products are often used by many state and local agency air quality forecasters.

2001

Regional authorities in the Baltimore and Washington DC metropolitan areas launch an air quality outreach website called "Air-Watch" to provide the public with easy access to air quality information, education about potential health risks related to air pollution, and to raise awareness while encouraging the public to actively participate in finding solutions to air pollution.

1998

EPA adopts the color-coded forecasting method, originally developed by the Department and the American Lung Association, as part of the federal Air Quality Index (AQI) to present air quality information and forecasts to the public.

1997

Pilot mapping for ground-level ozone gains national recognition. EPA starts a national ground-level ozone mapping program.

1996

Ozone Action Day program begins through the ENDZONE partnership to promote voluntary actions to reduce air pollution and protect public health.

1995

The Department takes on the primary role in air quality forecasting for Maryland. A regional collaboration is established between the Department, MWCOG, and VADEQ to expand the ozone forecasting program to include both the Baltimore and Washington DC metropolitan areas. Based on this regional collaboration, the "ENDZONE", for End Ozone, partnership is formed.

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