Our expert scientists and data specialists pioneered the world’s first truly global air quality index (also referred to as the BAQI, or BreezoMeter Air Quality Index). Why is this so important? Because using different local AQI systems to report on air quality can create a lot of confusion- a major problem for businesses looking to help people protect their health. So how did we do it and how exactly does our global AQI (what we call the BAQI) exactly work?
What Is an Air Quality Index?
An AQI, meaning an air quality index, is the scale by which a certain provider categorizes different air quality levels, based on different calculation methods, data sources, and designated purposes (i.e. focusing on short/long term health impact or other targets).
Because of the different scales and approaches used by different AQIs, different countries and providers can sometimes appear to show very different ratings for air quality for the same exact location at the same exact time.
This is similar to how the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales can show different numbers for the same temperature, such as the freezing point of water: 0°C equals 32°F. Similarly, the same numerical value can mean drastically different things on two different AQI systems, e.g. ‘0°F’ will be drastically colder than ‘0°C’ even though the ‘number’ looks the same.
Learn why AQI providers show different results here
Why We Created the BreezoMeter Global Air Quality Index (BAQI)
Almost every country in the world calculates its Air Quality Index 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.
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.
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, the European AQI reports on 5 separate pollutants (NO2, O3, SO2, PM10, PM2.5) whereas the India AQI also reports on NH3 (ammonia). 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, a standard of 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).
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 include 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 data from a wide range of sources around the world including satellites, land map databases, traffic data, wildfire reports, monitoring station information, and more.
By translating the raw environmental data, BreezoMeter’s air quality index simplifies health awareness and enables businesses to empower individuals to make healthier choices through accurate, simple, and actionable insights that anyone can understand.
Check Your Local Conditions via BreezoMeter’s Air Quality Map
How Can BreezoMeter’s Global AQI Help Individuals & Businesses?
Using different metrics and calculations to report air quality can create a lot of confusion, especially because many AQIs don’t report at a granular location-based level or real-time conditions.
BreezoMeter’s BAQI enables governments and businesses across the world to standardize air quality reporting and deliver an accurate environmental picture personalized to the individual at the hyperlocal level.
Industry leaders like Apple, Cisco, Volvo, and Yahoo are already leveraging BreezoMeter’s AQI and environmental insights to engage and empower their users on a global scale to lead healthier lives by avoiding unhealthy air.
Learn more about how BreezoMeter’s air quality forecasting technology works and why it manages to so accurately track environmental changes at such a granular resolution.