How to monitor the Air Quality Index

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The Air Quality is bad this week in Ankara. While January/February is normally the worst time of the year, there has been a dust cloud over the city for a few days.

Strong winds carrying dust from Syria have reached the capital Ankara, darkening visibility and worsening air quality in the city.

According to Dr. Hüseyin Toros from Department of Meteorology Engineering at the Istanbul Technical University, this dust has been carried over from deserts located in the Arabian and African peninsulas as well as Iran.

At first, it mostly affected the Southeastern Anatolia, then heavy winds brought the dust cloud to Ankara this week. This dust cloud should remain until the end of the week.

When the Air quality index is at Hazardous, outdoor activity is not recommended. Dust movement can cause a health problem for the elderly, children and other sensitive fractions, especially regarding respiratory functions.

Last year on “bad days” the Air quality Index was around 150. On Wednesday evening it went to 643.
The difference this week is that it was mostly coarse particles with a diameter between 2.5 and 10 micrometers (PM10) This is why it looked like fog.

Last winter, on bad days the fine particle level (PM2.5) was high. Then you could see a yellowish fog on the city.

893b6ea0-5e95-4a25-864c-3f7df80b9a23.jpgI took this picture from outside of Ankara, last January during one of the worse day of the year. You can see the yellowish cloud. It is different from the fog that we saw this week. 

I use an App to know the air quality in order to decide if it’s a good time or not to go jogging or go play at the park with the kids. Several apps uses the AQI index.

Here’s a link to the AQI index page for our neighborhood (Dikmen is the closest)

If you want an App that gives your the Air Quality Index, look for AQI in the Appstore, on Android I use Air IQA.

I’ve put a plugin on my home screen and see at a glance the AQI every time I open my phone. I use this App to know the air quality in order to decide if it’s a good time or not to go jogging or go play at the park with the kids, etc.

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