What is an Air Quality Health Index Forecast?

An Air Quality Health Index Forecast is a prediction of the quality of the air in the future.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Environment Canada want to give Ontario residents the best tools to make decisions to protect their health by limiting short-term exposure to air pollution and adjusting their activity levels during increased levels of air pollution. To help plan your day, the ministry, in partnership with Environment Canada, issues a prediction of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) value for today, tonight and tomorrow. Since smog is tied to weather, meteorologists keep a close watch on short and long-range weather forecasts, and continually study air quality information concerning Ontario and neighbouring U.S. states. Pollution levels, like weather, are very dynamic and can change at any time. To protect your health, it is important to regularly monitor both forecasts and reported Air Quality Health Index values.

Beginning June, 2015, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Environment Canada entered into a partnership to provide the Air Quality Health Index forecasts for the province of Ontario. As part of the agreement, Environment Canada meteorologists will be preparing the Air Quality Health Index forecasts for 17 locations across Ontario, including Windsor, London, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Newmarket, Toronto, Oshawa, Peterborough, Kingston, Ottawa, Barrie, Dorset and Sault Ste. Marie. The remaining 16 locations across Ontario will be forecasted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. In January, 2016, Environment Canada will assume forecasting duties for all Air Quality Health Index locations across Ontario. During this transition, there will be differences between the forecasts from Environment Canada and those from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Environment Canada will be forecasting an Air Quality Health Index value for today, tonight, and tomorrow with their morning forecast, and for tonight and tomorrow with their afternoon forecast. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change will be issuing a forecast of the Air Quality Health Index for only today and tomorrow.