Forecasting air qualityEthical News News & Features
AccuWeather has announced it has integrated ‘vital air quality data and insights’ into its weather forecasts on accuweather.com.
The data – reportedly not available from any other source – are sourced from an exclusive partnership with Paris-based Plume Labs, whose primary focus is making air quality information accessible to people worldwide, empowering them to better manage their health.
The partnership between AccuWeather and Plume Labs represents the only collaboration to incorporate localised air quality information into weather forecasts for every location around the world.
Air quality reports
AccuWeather web and mobile web users can now get air quality reports, unique forecasts and intelligence regarding how weather impacts their health and wellbeing up to four days ahead.
Users of the popular weather forecasting site can access air quality data within a widget that includes a rating from Plume Labs’ patented Air Quality Index, communicating the level of air quality in their location or any other location they designate.
The air quality scale includes conditions expressed as ‘Excellent, Fair, Poor, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy and Dangerous’, along with the types of pollutant contributing to the current rating.
Air pollution’s health impacts
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally are linked to ambient air pollution, mainly from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections in children.
More specifically, the WHO attributes worldwide ambient air pollution as the cause of 29% of all deaths and disease from lung cancer; 17% of all deaths and disease from acute lower respiratory infection; 24% of all deaths from stroke; 25% of all deaths and disease from coronary heart disease and 43% of all deaths and disease from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Some experts put the estimate of untimely deaths due to bad air as high as 20 million people annually worldwide.
Air quality is coming into sharp focus globally amidst the Covid-19 crisis, which specifically targets people’s respiratory systems. AccuWeather says this initiative and further partnership with Plume Labs illustrates its commitment to ‘making health and wellbeing a central focus for users’.
‘We are pleased to drive the charge in providing users with the most accurate weather forecasts, which now include crucial air quality data on a hyper-local scale with global accessibility.
‘When people understand where the worst air is, they can plan to avoid it and minimize the adverse impact it can take on their health. With heightened awareness of people’s health and wellbeing due to Covid-19, now is the perfect time to build awareness of this opportunity to minimize exposure to bad air, putting people in greater control of their health and safety.’
STEVEN R. SMITH
Raising awareness of clean air
The index connects users to a summary explaining why certain groups of people, such as those with respiratory issues, may be more affected by poor air quality than others. Insights are available on a hyper-local scale with global accessibility.
A mapping tool provides users with a bird’s-eye view of air quality conditions in their chosen region and a module, which tracks hour-by-hour location-based insights will help for daily planning purposes.
In addition to these features, a 24-hour and four-day forecast is available for localised planning, anywhere in the world.
The goal is to minimise the impact of bad air on families, businesses and communities, while collectively reducing potential for emergencies and even the loss of life.
‘With the right insights at the right time, avoiding exposure to air pollution is possible. Our mission is to make air quality information accessible to everyone. This partnership with AccuWeather is a decisive step to raise awareness of clean air at a planetary scale.’
CEO and founder of Plume Labs
The integration of the air quality forecast is the latest weather and health innovation from AccuWeather, which continues to be responsive to consumer input and demand in making health and wellness a central focus to its extensive and growing menu of digital features.
In March, AccuWeather added a Covid-19 Tracker Map to its website with data from John’s Hopkins University that indicates the number of cases, mortality rates, number of recoveries as well as the geographic spread of the virus throughout the world.
The mapping tool also provides relevant content and the latest news surrounding developments with Covid-19, especially those related to the role of weather and its impact on the pandemic.
The Allergy Indicator page on AccuWeather’s digital properties was updated and enhanced to provide a more in-depth view of increased allergy levels in a specific area with easy-to-read maps to identify geographical areas of vulnerability.
AccuWeather expanded its Allergy section right on the app’s home screen to include impact levels of the five top allergens – tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, mould and dust and dander. Notably, AccuWeather will be further upgrading its pollen/allergy forecast capability with data sets from Plume Labs later this year.