British Columbia currently has the worst air quality in North America, due to an excess of forest fires.
Not only is air quality currently the worst in the continent but similar to last year, it’s beating out several major areas in Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Beijing.
The information comes from Berkeley Earth, an independent non-profit organization founded in February of 2013.
The team consists of a group of scientists who conduct scientific investigations on the nature of climate change and wish to strengthen the scientific consensus on global warming.
The interactive map displays near real-time information on particulate matter air pollution that’s less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5).
According to Berkeley Earth, PM2.5 is the most damaging form of air pollution likely to be present and is often linked as contributing to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and respiratory infections, among other diseases.
The data is an accumulation of thousands of surface station measurements from around the globe. The display is only a few hours behind real time, at most.
The “epicentre” of BC’s air pollution stems from the interior of the province, where tens of thousands of hectares of land are currently up in flames.
The site’s current Air Quality Index (AQI), which ranges from zero to over 300, ranks the province’s air as unhealthy.
AQI in the Lower Mainland ranges from areas 155 to 157; deeper in the province, however, AQI lists as high as 196, bordering the “very unhealthy” threshold.
Conditions only look to improve when a significant change occurs in wildfires or weather conditions.
Until then, seek out cooler spaces and stay cool and hydrated.