About the air pollution forecast

The Met Office produces the air quality forecast for local areas. The forecast uses a simple 10 point scale called the Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI) to show what level of air pollution is expected. 1 means a low level of air pollution is expected and 10 means a very high level of air pollution is expected.

The Index also provides recommended actions and health advice for people with heart or lung problems as well as the general public.

Computer models are used to generate the forecast. The models take into account the weather and pollution emissions right across Europe as well as observations from UK automatic monitoring networks. The pollution emissions considered include: particulates (PM2.5 and PM10), nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide. Wind speed, direction and rain-patterns are also considered.

The forecast for today is valid until midnight and then the forecast for tomorrow and subsequent days are for 24hr periods from midnight to midnight. New forecasts are produced each morning for all 5 days of the forecast.  As with weather forecasts, air quality forecasts are more uncertain for longer forecast periods but these provide a good outlook of likely future events.

Air pollution may be higher than forecast close to busy roads.

You can check the air quality forecast for different parts of the UK at: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/forecasting/