Each air pollution episode has unique characteristics, and the importance of local emissions and transport from outside the area varies from season to season and in different weather patterns. Both local and distant sources are important.
The highest ozone concentrations occur in the summertime and are often found downwind of major urban areas, with significant contributions from inter-regional transport.
High levels of fine particulate matter may be experienced in industrial, urban, or rural areas in the region and may occur in summer or winter, with inter-regional transport more important in summer and local sources often more important in the winter.
Effective air pollution control for the Mid-Atlantic Region will require a combination of local and upwind controls on a wide variety of pollution sources.
EPA’s AIRNow website provides maps of current air quality and tomorrow’s forecast for both ozone and fine particle air pollution. The current air quality maps are updated throughout the day. The website also provides links to information about health effects.
The first ozone map of the day is usually available by 9:00 a.m. EST during the ozone "season." The typical ozone season is April to September. Particle Pollution maps are available year-round for many cities.
Air Quality forecasts are provided by State and local agencies. These forecasts predict whether air quality will be unhealthful tomorrow.
The ozone map was originally used in the Baltimore-Washington area in 1995 and was also used in New Jersey in 1996. Through a collaborative effort between MARAMA, NESCAUM (the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management—our sister organization for the northeastern states), the Ozone Transport Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a mapping system for the entire northeast was developed in 1997. In 1998 EPA developed the map for a larger area of the U.S. Later, EPA added maps of particulate matter and daily forecast maps.
To view the air quality map and related information please go to the EPA's AirNow Web Site.