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New York City Air Quality Index: Real-time Visualization and Impact on Health

New York City Air Quality Index: Real-time Visualization and Impact on Health

Air pollution continues to be a significant concern in New York City, with implications for public health and everyday living conditions. Our real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) visualization provides valuable insight into the state of air quality in the city, facilitating awareness and protective measures.

The above Air Quality Index visualization serves as a critical tool for tracking these fluctuations and understanding the ongoing impact of air quality on the health and well-being of New Yorkers.

Current Air Quality in New York City

At the time of writing, the AQI in New York City is at an unhealthy level of 179, primarily due to PM2.5 pollutants1. These small particulate matters are harmful to human health, and their concentration in New York City is currently 22.1 times the World Health Organization's annual air quality guideline value1.

Impact of Air Pollution on Public Health

The adverse effects of such air pollution levels are profound. In 2023, air pollution has contributed to an estimated 6,800 deaths in New York City1. As a result, it's crucial for individuals, particularly those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, to take protective measures during times of poor air quality. Such measures include wearing a mask outdoors, running an air purifier, closing windows to avoid dirty outdoor air, and avoiding outdoor exercise1.

Past Air Quality Trends

Despite the current unhealthy air quality level, New York City has generally maintained a "good" average AQI over the past three years, with PM2.5 levels falling within the WHO guidelines1.

External Factors: The Role of Wildfires

External factors such as wildfires can drastically affect the city's air quality. In 2023, smoke from Canadian wildfires led to a significant decrease in air quality, particularly in New York City. The city experienced a hazardous AQI level of 342 due to the wildfire particulates, far surpassing the threshold of 301 denoting hazardous air quality2.

Future Outlook and Climate Change Implications

While the overall wind pattern is expected to shift towards pushing more of the smoke and haze offshore into the Atlantic Ocean, climate scientists warn that intense and extended wildfire seasons are likely to become more frequent as the planet warms and droughts worsen2.


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  1. New York City Air Quality Index (AQI) and New York Air Pollution | IQAir (opens in a new tab) 2 3 4 5

  2. New York’s air quality reaches “hazardous” level, by far the worst in the world | Ars Technica (opens in a new tab) 2