Our team of expert scientists and data specialists pioneered the world's first truly global air quality index. The question is how, and why did we need to come up with this universally understood approach to reporting on air quality?
A) Why We Created the BreezoMeter Global Air Quality Index (BAQI)
Almost every country in the world calculates its Air Quality Index (AQI) differently. National AQIs are based on local air quality standards and pollutant concentrations that are completely country-specific. All this variation means it's impossible to compare like for like between countries.
Further, for global businesses looking to make use of accurate air quality data, it is very difficult to combine all the different indexes in an understandable way.
B) National AQIs Speak Different Languages
The air quality indexes used by different countries use completely different scales. Numbers alone mean nothing when you can’t easily understand or compare the ranges or scales that are behind the numbers you’re looking at.
This point is easier to understand if you compare air quality to the weather - when looking at temperatures across the world, we have commonly used international standards to interpret the information we’re looking at, Fahrenheit and Celcius. With air quality, no global standard like this existed until we created the BAQI.
Table Comparing 3 Different AQIs
When looking at these different values, it would be difficult to understand that ‘11’ in the Hong Kong Index and ‘450’ in the US index both referred to hazardous levels of air quality without additional context.
C) How Else Do National Air Quality Indexes Differ?
The Use of Categorization: ‘Unhealthy’ vs. ‘High’
Some AQIs are based on the level of potential health impact on our health (unhealthy - healthy), whereas others are based on air pollution levels (low - high).
The Number of Pollutants Reported
Different AQIs may not report on the same pollutants. For example, Sao Paulo in Brazil reports on 6 separate pollutants (co, no2, o3, so2, pm10, pm25) whereas Denmark only reports on 3 (no2, co, o3). In addition, where national Air Quality Indexes do report on the same pollutants, the levels of concentration might differ.
Different Interpretations of Danger
Different countries define the danger presented by different levels of pollutant concentration in different ways. In the US, standards 54 parts per billion of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) gas defines moderate air quality (1-hour average) whereas in Israel, 250 parts per billion of NO2 defines the same category level (30 min average).
D) How BreezoMeter’s Global AQI Works
Our Breezometer Air Quality Index, 'BAQI', was developed based on academic research, National AQIs and more. The BAQI scale ranges from 0 = "poor" to an AQI value of 100 = "excellent" with 5 color-coded categories of equal lengths:
Our BAQI also takes into account all six of the major pollutants across the world, which includes Ground Level Ozone, Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Fine Particulate Matter and Inhalable Particle Pollution. On the surface, the BAQI is incredibly simple: it’s a single number that will tell you the quality of air on your street, in real-time.
However, the bigger story is how we got here. BreezoMeter collects so much real-time data from thousands of sources around the world, that the challenge was to translate this information into accurate, simple and actionable insights that anyone can understand.
Read more with our guide to understanding air quality data and the differences in reporting approaches here: