The Ambient Monitoring Program of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s Air Protection Branch has been monitoring air quality in the State of Georgia for more than forty years. During that time, the list of monitored compounds has grown to more than 200 pollutants at approximately 40 sites in 30 counties across the state. The map below shows where the monitors are located.
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Collecting Air Samples and Data
AMP staff use special equipment to carefully collect and test the air samples, determining the concentration of pollutants in these air samples. This monitoring is performed to assess our air quality and protect the health of our citizens.
Assuring that the Data is Accurate
The AMP takes measurements under very strict protocols, using highly technical equipment, to ensure that the data we produce is accurate. The field equipment also undergoes rigorous testing, calibration and maintenance. To ensure precise data, our Quality Assurance group validates the data by conducting field tests (or audits) on the sampling equipment. These audits must meet certain established criteria. If it fails, the instrument is repaired or replaced before the next sample is taken.
Making the Data available
AMP provides the measurement information via the Home Page of this website, where hourly monitoring data is posted for gaseous pollutants and particulate matter. The live map shows you the air quality in your area based on the actual measurements. AMP also submits our data to EPA’s national database AIRNOW for use by EPA, researchers, and health professionals. In addition, the data is summarized in the AMP Annual Report.
What do the measurements tell us?
Data obtained for specific pollutants allows us to see chemical concentrations in the air samples. The data also helps us to understand atmospheric chemistry, and use this chemistry to develop plans that will help bring areas back in to “attainment.” Attainment means that Georgia is meeting the national quality standards.
Weather affects air quality
Weather affects air pollution. Sunlight and heat can promote ozone formation. Temperature inversions and wind can keep pollution from dispersing. Wind can also bring in more pollution - sometimes from hundreds of miles away. Conversely, wind and rain can improve air quality. For this reason, the AMP team also employs a staff of meteorologists, and manages a network of over 15 meteorological stations located throughout Georgia.
Using weather information as well as the pollution data collected from the monitors, a forecast team produces a daily ozone and PM2.5 pollution forecast - or “smog alert” - for metro Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus. With the use of the air quality index or AQI, this forecast allows citizens who are sensitive to air pollution to plan their days and limit their exposure.