Arizona Air Quality Information

2020 Arizona Air Quality Year In Review


The year 2020 will go down in the history books for many reasons, including weather and air quality.

The first part of the year was reasonably active, with several storm systems moving through Arizona, bringing rain and snow to portions of the state.

Everything weather-wise came to a halt after mid-April, with an uncharacteristic, nearly non-existent Monsoon 2020. Phoenix Sky Harbor recorded only two days of measurable rain, making the rainfall total for the season just one inch. With an inactive monsoon, we saw a significant drop in dust storms and with that, less PM-10 exceedances during the season. On the flip side, without storm activity, mainly calm winds resulted in an increase in ozone across Phoenix.

This summer, a significant and extended wildfire outbreak occurred across the Western United States, covering the region in smoke. While most of the smoke from wildfires transported into Arizona stayed off the ground, the smoke-modified air mass contributed to higher ozone levels near the ground.

High pressure dominated the weather pattern for the fall and winter months with light winds, mainly clear skies and strong overnight inversions heading into the end of the year. One exception was a winter storm that provided much needed rain to Arizona in early December with Sky Harbor logging 0.44" on one day.

But, the high pressure pattern, combined with an increase in smoke production from wood-burning fireplaces and fireworks, resulted in numerous PM-2.5 exceedances in December for both Phoenix and Nogales and the highest PM-2.5 readings on New Year's Day recorded in Phoenix since reliable measures began in 2011.

2020 Air Quality Year In Review



Location

Good Days

Ozone Exceedances

PM10 Exceedances

PM2.5 Exceedances



Phoenix

57

40

4

12




Tucson

211

8

0

0




Yuma

257

0

3

0




Nogales

236

N/A

0

5




Get more year-to-date air quality information: https://azdeq.gov/node/5820

The quality of the air we breathe is more important than ever. All Arizonans deserve the cleanest possible air today and for our future - especially those with compromised health. We all can make a positive difference by the choices we make and actions we take everyday. Learn more about air quality today by downloading ADEQ's Air Arizona mobile app that provides hourly forecasts to help you plan your day and reduce air pollution impacts on your health: https://www.azdeq.gov/airaz.