Ottawa Wildfire and Live Air Quality [2023]

Ottawa PM2.5 air quality averaged 6.1 micrograms in 2022. This means Ottawa PM2.5 concentrations just exceeded the WHO annual limit of 5.0 micrograms by 122%. On the most polluted day, Ottawa air quality exceeded the recommended limit by a little under 5 times.

Current Air Quality in Ottawa

Air Quality Map

Live Ottawa, Canada AQI air quality map updated hourly.

How Wildfires Out West Affect Ottawa’s Air Pollution Levels

Outside of weather, wildfires are another factor that can significantly affect Ottawa’s air quality. The worst wildfires typically occur in the months of June to September. In July of 2021, wildfire smoke from California and Oregon reached Ottawa, and Ottawa air quality reached its worse levels in years.

Read More: How Wildfires in California Affect Air Pollution Levels

Below shows how wildfires in September of 2020 affected air quality levels all across the west coast. 

How California's Wildfires Affect Air Quality on West Coast

How is the Air Quality in Ottawa, Canada?

46% of Days in Ottawa More Polluted Than WHO Target

During 2022, 46% of days exceeded the WHO annual limit. 54% of days fell within the safe limit of 5 micrograms. That means outdoor air in Ottawa was considered safe for 1 in 2 days during 2022.

The most polluted day in 2022 was Jan. 23, 2022, where PM2.5 concentrations were as high as 24.0 micrograms. On this day, PM2.5 pollution exceeded the recommended limit by a little under 5 times.

Ottawa PM2.5 Concentrations: 2023 – Year to Date

So far in 2023, Ottawa’s PM2.5 concentrations have averaged 10.0 micrograms. That’s 64% higher than the previous year.

Is Ottawa Air Quality Improving?

Historical air quality (AQI) data for Ottawa over the past 4 years (2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022) shows that air quality has ever so slightly worsened. This shows a worrying trend for air quality in Ottawa. Looking at just the past year, from 2021 to 2022, PM2.5 concentrations improved by 3%.

Friday is the Most Polluted Day of the Week in Ottawa

Fridays are the most polluted day of the week in Ottawa. PM2.5 levels on an average Friday reach 6.3 micrograms. That’s 7% higher than the least polluted day – Sunday. On Sunday, PM2.5 air pollution averages 5.9 micrograms.

On average, Fridays see PM2.5 pollution that’s 126% the WHO limit. For Sundays – the least polluted day – PM2.5 air pollution is 118%.

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