Ambient Air Quality Data Inventory

The Office of Air and Radiation's (OAR) Ambient Air Quality Data (Current) contains ambient air pollution data collected by EPA, other federal agencies, as well as state, local, and tribal air pollution control agencies. Its component data sets have been collected over the years from approximately 10,000 monitoring sites, of which approximately 5,000 are currently active. OAR's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) and other internal and external users, rely on this data to assess air quality, assist in Attainment/Non-Attainment designations, evaluate State Implementation Plans for Non-Attainment Areas, perform modeling for permit review analysis, and other air quality management functions. Air quality information is also used to prepare reports for Congress as mandated by the Clean Air Act. This data covers air quality data collected after 1980, when the Clean Air Act requirements for monitoring were significantly modified. Air quality data from the Agency's early years (1970s) remains available (see OAR PRIMARY DATA ASSET: Ambient Air Quality Data -- Historical), but because of technical and definitional differences the two data assets are not directly comparable. The Clean Air Act of 1970 provided initial authority for monitoring air quality for Conventional Air Pollutants (CAPs) for which EPA has promulgated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Requirements for monitoring visibility-related parameters were added in 1977. Requirements for monitoring acid deposition and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) were added in 1990. Most monitoring sites contain multiple instruments. Most also report meteorological data, including wind speed and direction, humidity, atmospheric pressure, inbound solar radiation, precipitation and other factors relevant to air quality analysis. The current system of sites represents a number of independently-defined monitoring networks with different regulatory or scientific purposes, such as the State and Local Air Monitoring System, the National Air Toxics Trends sites, the Urban Air Toxics sites, the IMPROVE visibility monitoring network, the air toxics monitoring sites for schools, and others. (A complete list of air quality monitoring networks is available at Efforts are under way through NCore Multipollutant Monitoring Network ( to streamline and integrate advanced air quality measurement systems to minimize costs of data collection. Measurements and estimates from these networks are collected across the entire U.S., including all states and territories, with emphasis on documenting pollutant exposures in populated areas.Sampling frequencies vary by pollutant (hourly, 3- and 8-hour, daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual measurements), as required by different NAAQS. Some 50,000 measurements per day are added to the EPA's central air quality data repository, the Air Quality System (AQS). All data, including meteorological information, is public and non-confidential and available through the AQS Data Mart ( Generally, data for one calendar quarter are reported by the end of the following quarter; some values may be subsequently changed due to quality assurance activities.

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Last Updated November 13, 2019, 09:51 (UTC)
Created November 13, 2019, 09:51 (UTC)
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