Air quality in Brisbane

Air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 air pollution in Brisbane

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What is the pollen count in Brisbane today?

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What is the current weather in Brisbane?

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WeatherFew clouds
Wind8.1 mp/h
Pressure30.2 Hg

live aqi city ranking

Real-time Australia city ranking

#cityUS AQI
1The national flag of International Townsville, Queensland


2The national flag of International Gladstone, Queensland


3The national flag of International Armidale, New South Wales


4The national flag of International Sydney, New South Wales


5The national flag of International Adelaide, South Australia


6The national flag of International Geelong, Victoria


7The national flag of International Perth, Western Australia


8The national flag of International Merriwa, New South Wales


9The national flag of International Bathurst, New South Wales


10The national flag of International Gold Coast, Queensland


(local time)


live Brisbane aqi ranking

Real-time Brisbane air quality ranking

#stationUS AQI
1 Brisbane CBD


2 Springfield Central


3 MacArthur Avenue


4 Bombery Street


5 Zodiac Close


6 Brigalow Street


7 Eleventh Avenue


8 Tingal Road


9 Burringbar Street


10 Lytton


(local time)


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What is the current air quality in Brisbane?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Good 14 US AQIPM2.5

PM2.5 concentration in Brisbane air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value

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What is the current air quality in Brisbane?

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Brisbane air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind
Sunday, Jul 21

Good 19 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
69.8° 51.8°
Wind rotating 250 degree 13.4 mp/h
Monday, Jul 22

Good 27 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
68° 46.4°
Wind rotating 237 degree 4.5 mp/h
Tuesday, Jul 23

Good 35 AQI US

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Weather icon
69.8° 50°
Wind rotating 85 degree 6.7 mp/h

Good 14 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 30%
69.8° 51.8°
Wind rotating 72 degree 6.7 mp/h
Thursday, Jul 25

Good 15 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
69.8° 57.2°
Wind rotating 37 degree 8.9 mp/h
Friday, Jul 26

Good 13 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
73.4° 55.4°
Wind rotating 34 degree 8.9 mp/h
Saturday, Jul 27

Good 13 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 90%
75.2° 55.4°
Wind rotating 35 degree 6.7 mp/h
Sunday, Jul 28

Good 7 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 50%
69.8° 53.6°
Wind rotating 246 degree 13.4 mp/h
Monday, Jul 29

Good 7 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
66.2° 44.6°
Wind rotating 242 degree 4.5 mp/h
Tuesday, Jul 30

Good 6 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
66.2° 46.4°
Wind rotating 186 degree 8.9 mp/h

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How bad is the air quality in Brisbane?

The capital of Queensland state on Australia’s east coast, and the country’s 3rd most populated city, Brisbane generally experiences relatively healthy air quality year-round, in comparison with other global major cities. However, similarly to many locations in Australia, Brisbane air quality is also prone to experience short-term extreme pollution events which frequently exceed the national limits for daily air pollution exposure, such as dust storms or bushfires.1 Both these short-term extreme pollution events, and the low levels of background air pollution that are present in the air year-round, present significant health hazards to Brisbane’s 2.5 million residents.

The main pollutants of concern in Brisbane are particulate pollution (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O3).1 Particle pollution, or particulate matter, is made up of tiny airborne particles of either 2.5 microns or 10 microns in diameter (abbreviated to PM2.5 or PM10 respectively). PM is known to be especially hazardous to human health, because its microscopic size enables the particles to penetrate deep into the human system, and even the bloodstream; while the chemical composition of PM can vary, often it contains toxic elements that can cause a range of health effects.

Live Brisbane air quality information can be viewed at the top of this page within the dynamic air quality map, which features real-time wildfire information alongside Brisbane air pollution updates and a 7-day air quality forecast.

How does Brisbane air quality compare to other cities?

In 2019, Brisbane air quality ranked as Australia’s 35th most polluted city out of 95 measured cities, according to IQAir’s 2019 World Air Quality Report.2 Its annual average PM2.5 concentration in 2019 was 8.1 μg/m3, just exceeding Australia’s national annual target of 8 μg/m3, although this still achieves the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommended annual guideline for PM2.5, of 10 μg/m3. 2019’s measurement shows a slight increase from previous years’ PM2.5 levels, which averaged 7.2 μg/m3 in 2018, and 6.4 μg/m3 in 2017.2 The slight increase during 2019 could partly be attributed to the particularly severe bushfires that swept Australia during the summer of 2019-2020, which affected Brisbane along with several other areas, particularly Queensland’s neighbouring state of New South Wales.3

Brisbane’s 2019 average PM2.5 level ranked the city as cleaner than other Australian major cities Canberra (15 μg/m3), Sydney (10.1 μg/m3), but more polluted than Melbourne (6.5 μg/m3).

What are the main sources of pollution in Brisbane?

The majority of air pollutants in Brisbane are generated from motor vehicles, bushfires and the burning of vegetation, domestic heating (e.g. using wood heaters in homes), paint fumes and emissions from industry.4 Of these sources, emissions from motor vehicles are particularly significant, estimated to contribute over 70% of the city’s overall air pollution. With predicted population growth within Brisbane in future, vehicle kilometres travelled are estimated to increase 30% by 2026, therefore mitigating air pollution emissions from vehicles is a high priority for Brisbane air pollution management.

Brisbane’s particulate matter emissions are commonly generated by wildfires, in addition to other sources such as road transport and industry; while nitrogen dioxide is often generated from road vehicles and industry. Brisbane’s unique geography also makes the city particularly vulnerable to ozone generation, if air quality sources are poorly managed. The capital of Queensland state, the coastal city of Brisbane sits between the Gold Coast to the north and Sunshine coast to the south, while inland it is hemmed in by the Great Dividing Range of mountains. These mountains and islands surrounding the city from the coast create a basin, in which ozone can easily form and linger.1

Is Brisbane affected by wildfires?

Australia has long experienced wildfires during its summer months, with an established fire season. Bushfires can be started naturally, by a lightning strike, or through human intervention, either through planned burning measures, an accidental human-made spark, or through malicious arson.5 However, there are some signs of Australia’s wildfires worsening over time, in line with global increasing temperatures due to climate change. Australia’s bushfires were particularly destructive during the summer of 2019-2020, due to a prolonged summer of record-breaking temperatures and prolonged drought, which had a severe knock-on impact onAustralia air quality.5 While these bushfires worst affected the state of New South Wales, followed by Victoria, there were also more limited fires burning causinghaze in Queensland and around Brisbane.6 Furthermore, the smoke generated from Queensland’s own domestic fires was intensified due to smoke from neighbouringNew South Wales air pollution, which was drawn in to mingle with Brisbane smoke by wind currents.7 On 11 November 2019 in the thick of some of these wildfires, several stations around the South East Queensland area surrounding Brisbane had 24-hour average PM2.5 concentrations ranging between 80.9 μg/m3 up to 126.7 μg/m3, with the worst readings reported from Woolloongabba (126.7 μg/m3), Southport (124.1 μg/m3), and South Brisbane (113.1 μg/m3).7 For reference, this exceeds both the WHO’s and the Australian national standard for 24-hour PM2.5 exposure, which is a matching limit of 25 μg/m3, by 3 to 5 times over.8

What is Brisbane doing about air pollution?

Brisbane City Council runs a network of seven air quality monitoring stations around the city, located in the Central Business District (CBD), Cannon Hill, Lytton, Rocklea, South Brisbane, Woolloongabba, Wynnum and Wynnum West.9 These sensors monitor a range of 6 main criteria pollutants that pose hazards to human health: carbon monoxide (CO), NO2, particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ozone, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Brisbane City Council then communicates these readings to the public using a Clean Brisbane Air Quality Index. The Brisbane AQI follows the Queensland Air Quality Index system, which adopts the nationwide logic of calculating AQI numbers as a percentage of the national standard for different pollutants. Australia’s standards are known as the National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality (NEPM). Under this system, an AQI level of “100” represents 100% of the maximum permitted amount of the specified pollutant; and numbers above 100 represent an exceedance of the national standard. The highest measurement of any given pollutant measured at a given location, will determine that location’s overall AQI number. The Queensland AQI’s color-coded scale begins with ratings of 0-33, indicating ‘Very good’ air quality, up to >150, indicating ‘Very Poor’ air quality.10 The Brisbane air quality index therefore aims to communicate air pollution numbers in an easy-to-understand single measure of health hazard, that enables the public to react quickly and take measures to protect health when necessary.

+ Article resources

[1] Brisbane City Council. “Why air quality is important”. Brisbane City Council website, April 22, 2020.
[2] IQAir. “2019 World Air Quality Report”. IQAir website, March 18, 2020.
[3] Justine Calma. “What you need to know about the Australia bushfires”. The Verge, Feburary 13, 2020.
[4] Brisbane City Council. “How you can contribute to clean air”. Brisbane City Council website, April 30, 2020.
[5] BBC. “How did Australia fires start and what is being done? A very simple guide.” BBC website, January 7, 2020.
[6] Nadja Popovich, Denise Lu and Blacki Migliozzi. “Here’s Where Australia’s Destructive Wildfires Are Burning”. New York Times, January 13, 2020.
[7] Leonie Mellor, Rebeka Powell. “Queensland fire emergency leaves Brisbane’s air quality worse than Beijing”. ABC News Australia, November 12, 2019.
[8] Australian Government. “National air quality standards: Ambient air quality (2016). Australian Government website, 2016.
[9] Brisbane City Council. “Real-time air quality index”.Brisbane City Council website, September 10, 2020.
[10] Queensland Government. “Air quality index”. Queensland Government website, August 12, 2020.

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