Air Quality Alerts

Air Quality Alert DaysWarmer summer temperatures elevate ground level ozone levels, causing health and respiratory problems, especially for children and senior citizens. It's wise to cut back on driving and reschedule strenuous activities on Air Quality Alert Days when elevated ozone levels compromise air quality. 

What is ground level ozone?

Ground level ozone is an invisible gas created by emissions and other pollutants baking in the hot sun.  Fumes from vehicles, lawnmowers, barbecues and emissions from power plants and industrial facilities react in sunlight causing the ozone pollution that affects the health of everyone.

Why is ozone a hazard?

In the upper atmosphere, ozone forms a shield that protects the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

At ground level, ozone is a pollutant that causes shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches and eye and throat irritation.  Children, the elderly, people who work outdoors and those with respiratory diseases are most at risk to the ill effects of ozone pollution.

What should you do on Air Quality Alert Days?

TransOptions encourages commuters to modify their driving habits when Air Quality Alert Days are forecast.  Simple changes to your driving routine can help your family’s health while reducing air toxins:

  • Use alternative transportation such as public transit, carpool or telecommute
  • Drive fewer miles
  • Postpone less important driving
  • Trip chain or consolidate trips
  • Reduce idling
  • Refuel in the morning or after dusk as gas vapors react with heat and sunlight to form ozone

When are Air Quality Alert Days forecast?

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issues warnings the day before high ozone levels are anticipated so that commuters can make clean air choices. 

Sign up to receive TransOptions Air Quality Alert Reports via email and know in advance when spare the air days are expected.

Sample Forecast:

Tuesday, June 1

65 AQI

Moderate

Moderate Air Quality Alert

Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Wednesday, June 2

105 AQI

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups Alert

Ozone

June 1:

Moderate fine particle levels are forecast throughout most of New Jersey due to southwest winds and warm temperatures. Ozone is expected to return to the moderate category due to mostly cloudy skies and showers later in the day.

June 2:

WARNING! Ozone levels are forecast to reach the unhealthy for sensitive groups category throughout the Garden State due to light southwest winds, sunny skies, and warm temperatures. Sensitive individuals including the very young, the elderly, and persons with respiratory diseases such as asthma should avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the afternoon and early evening hours. In addition, moderate fine particle levels are forecast across the state.*IMPORTANT NOTE*: To obtain the appropriate air quality forecast for emergency generator testing, go to http://www.nj.gov/dep/aqpp/aqforecast/index.htm