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What are Air Quality Alerts? | Weather Wise

Air Quality Alerts are issued due to a build-up of ozone in our atmosphere.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Today we're going to learn about air quality. Sometimes, the quality of our air can be good, other times it can be horrible—especially for people with breathing problems across Kentuckiana. 

When things get a little hot and stuffy here, we can have Air Quality Alerts issued for the Louisville metro area and surrounding counties. In an alert, we'll show a map highlighting areas where people may have the most trouble breathing. If you do have a condition that might affect your breathing, and you live in an area with an alert, you'll want to limit your time outside. 

Air Quality Alerts are issued due to a build-up of ozone in our atmosphere. Ozone is created when our weather conditions in Kentuckiana do three things:

  1. Winds are calm
  2. Temperatures are heating up
  3. There is plenty of sunshine

This allows two types of pollution to be created: ozone and particle pollution. Ozone pollution is formed from a combination of sunlight, nitrogen oxides and what we call volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These ingredients create ozone in our atmosphere on hot, sunny and warm days.

As temperatures rise throughout the day, more ozone can be created, making those very warm days with calm winds especially problematic for people with asthma or any other breathing issues. 

Air Quality Alerts are issued a few times a year, but the good news is that we have many more good days rather than days where you'll have to plan some time inside.

More Weather Wise:

Contact meteorologist Kaitlynn Fish at kfish@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter (@KaitlynnFish) and Facebook.

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