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Science

Updates To UtahAir App Remind Individuals Of Changing Air Quality

Phone app monitors air quality locally
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
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Does your weekly weather forecast include reminders about air quality? If not, there’s an app for that. An updated version of the UtahAir App has just been released and it contains some new features that allow Utah residents to closely monitor conditions in their area. 

 

 

“Well, one of the things that got added recently was a GPS function," said Bowen Call, manager of the air monitoring section at the Utah Division of Air Quality. "So, if you have your GPS turned on, the phone will actually calculate which monitoring station is closest to you and put that one on top.”

 

Other new features include a messaging service that link with air quality alerts from events like wind storms and smoke from wildfire.

 

“We provide our data in the actual concentrations and so for particulates that’s going to be micrograms per cubic meter and for ozone that’s going to be parts per million or parts per billion,” Call said.

 

Currently, organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) release air quality updates using index levels with categories like good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups and so on.

 

“Speaking for particulates because we’re going into the particulate season, good is generally considered from 0 to 12.5 micrograms per cubic meter and then moderate goes from 12 up to 35 micrograms and that’s where the standard is,” Call said.

 

The indexes are useful when there are significant changes in air quality, however the standards are evolving.

 

“I guess I would just say that the pollution level is going down overall, the levels are lower than they were 10 years ago so you know progress is being made. However, having said that, all the standards are based on health impact studies and research. And so right now for example, the standard for particulate is 35 micrograms per cubic meters, well back maybe ten to twelve years it was 65,” Call said.

 

Call’s best advice is that individuals should be aware of how pollution affects them personally. 

Learn more about the App from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality website here.

As well, the original app was developed by students at the Center for Automotive Science and Technology at Weber State University. Learn more about that program here.