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Air Quality Monitoring

The Air Quality Program measures the levels of air criteria pollutants and counts the various kinds of pollen in the air every day.

Monitoring Division staff track trends in our air quality and work closely with the EPA to ensure that Albuquerque-Bernalillo County complies with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

The Air Quality Program measures ambient air quality conditions for the following EPA criteria pollutants:

  • Ground-level Ozone (O3)
  • Coarse Particulate Matter (PM10)
  • Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

For each of these pollutants, EPA has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health. The NAAQS are health-based standards, and the Clean Air Act identifies two types of standards. Primary standards provide public health protection, including protecting the health of sensitive populations such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. Secondary standards provide public welfare protection, including protection against decreased visibility and damage to animals, crops, vegetation, and buildings. According to the EPA, ground-level ozone and airborne particles (particulate matter) are the two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health in the United States. These are also the most significant air quality issues locally.

Ambient Air Monitoring Network

There are five EPA-certified Ambient Air Monitoring Stations located across Albuquerque–Bernalillo County. Monitoring stations are located at sites where air quality is likely to be most heavily impacted by certain criteria pollutants. Ambient air quality monitors measure hourly average concentrations of criteria pollutants in real time and collect important weather information.

Monitoring stations also include pollen monitors, which identify the type and quantity of pollen in our air. Every weekday morning, Monitoring Division staff download and calculate the average pollen count per pollen type and report it online and through Daily Air Quality Updates.

The Air Quality Program is continuously seeking opportunities to improve our monitoring network. Read our latest research on the availability and reliability of low-cost air quality sensors.

Click on a pin in the map below to view the pollutants being measured at each monitoring station. 

Trends in Local Air Quality

The most common pollutants of greatest concern in Albuquerque-Bernalillo County are ozone and particulate matter. Blowing dust and smoke from woodburning are major contributors to particulate matter. Vehicle pollution is a major contributor to ozone, and levels tend to rise during the warmer months of the year. As the state’s regional center for employment, higher education, retail commerce, and medical treatment, Albuquerque experiences non-local commuter traffic, which can lead to increased levels of ground-level ozone and particulate matter.

Graphs depicting trends for each criteria pollutant from 2000 to 2015 can be found here. These graphs show monitoring levels in Albuquerque compared to the greater Southwest Region. Levels of all criteria pollutants are within the national and state standards, and are lower than or just slightly higher than the regional average.

Air Quality Index

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted the air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act (1990).

View the current AQI for Albuquerque-Bernalillo County

Health Alerts

The Air Quality Program issues health alerts if ambient air conditions may adversely affect individuals with respiratory conditions. Health Alerts are typically issued because of elevated levels of dust or smoke.

Sign up for Air Quality Alerts

Receive free real-time emergency health alerts on your mobile phone

Text “ABQHEALTH” for alerts in English or “ABQSALUD” for alerts in Spanish to 226787 from your mobile phone. You will receive a welcome message and instructions to start or stop messages any time. The service is free for those who enroll. Mobile alerts are intended for general health alerts that may affect the entire community, at a high-priority level. Mobile alerts are issued for:

  • High levels of air pollutants, including smoke, blowing dust, and ozone
  • Food safety recalls or alerts
  • Hazardous material discharges
  • Important infectious disease developments

Steps that you can take during Health Alerts

  • Limit your time spent outdoors and avoid outdoor exercise.
  • Schools and senior citizen facilities may want to provide indoor activities to minimize exposure to elevated outdoor particulate levels.
  • Keep windows and doors closed. If needed for comfort, use air conditioners or heating systems on recycle/recirculation mode.
  • If symptoms of heart or lung disease occur, (including shortness of breath, chest tightness, chest pain, palpitations or unusual fatigue) contact your health care provider.
  • Individuals with heart or lung disease should follow their health management plan from their health care provider.
  • Asthmatic individuals should follow a prescribed asthma management plan.

Annual Monitoring Network Review

The Air Quality Program is required to submit a Monitoring Network Review to the EPA annually. The Monitoring Network Review describes the framework of the local air quality surveillance system, presents monitoring results over the past three years, provides comparisons to national standards, and discusses future plans. The annual Monitoring Network Review is made available for public inspection for at least 30 days prior to submission to EPA. Learn more about the Annual Monitoring Network Review.