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(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 22 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Jacksonville is currently 1.1 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Sunday, Nov 26|
Good 19 AQI US
|Monday, Nov 27|
Good 24 AQI US
|Tuesday, Nov 28|
Good 28 AQI US
Good 22 AQI US
|Thursday, Nov 30|
Good 30 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 1|
Good 19 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 2|
Good 31 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Good 22 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Good 47 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 63 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 76 AQI US
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Jacksonville air quality averaged an Air Quality Index (AQI) rating of 37 (“good”) in 2019. Despite a healthy rating, 2019 showed an increase from 2018 (AQI 30) and 2017 (AQI 22). Jacksonville recent pollution gains are in contrast to aggregate data for Florida, which shows most cities exhibiting improvements.1
Annual averages are only a single indicator of a city’s air quality. Daily fluctuations can trigger pollution events leading to respiratory irritation, asthma attacks, and hospitalizations. Daily pollution spikes, however, have been rare in Jacksonville. In 2019, Jacksonville only experienced 1 level “orange” day of unhealthy ozone, and 1 level “orange” day of unhealthy PM2.5.2 The infrequency of these events leads the city, and Duval County, to receive a “B” or passing rating for both measures by the American Lung Association.
By both annual and daily measures for criteria pollutants monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Jacksonville air quality is relatively clean. However, no level of air pollution has been shown to be free of health risk.
A study led by the US EPA found that further reducing the federal target for annual PM2.5 from 12 μg/m3 to 9 μg/m3 could up to 12,150 lives.3 Likewise, scientists and health experts have pushed for more stringent ozone standards in order to better protect sensitive individuals, such as children, the elderly, and those with preexisting heart and lung conditions.
Periods of unhealthy air pollution in Jacksonville and Duval County put nearly half a million sensitive individuals at risk for acute health effects. This includes roughly 80,660 with asthma, 124,618 with heart and lung disease, 214,676 children, and 133,483 adults over 65.
In 2019, Jacksonville was ranked as the 9th most polluted city in Florida out of 43 included cities in the state. Cities which experienced higher air pollution levels include Tallahassee, Dover, Pensacola, Bonifay, Lake City, Jasper, Kendall, and Gulf Breeze, in descending order.
Monitoring Jacksonville air pollution data is a critical first step to reducing one’s air pollution exposure. To protect one’s health and preempt pollution spikes, follow Jacksonville forecast air quality data at the top of this page.
In the United States, PM2.5 and ozone are pollutants of primary concern for their prevalence at risky levels to health. In Jacksonville, both PM2.5 and ozone are at similarly unhealthy levels, both receiving a “B” rating from the American Lung Association (ALA). While both measures attained a passing grade, it is important to note that any amount of PM2.5 and ozone can cause adverse health effects.
PM2.5 is fine suspended particulate matter with a range of chemical makeups measuring 2.5 micrometers or smaller. Due to the microscopic nature of PM2.5, it’s able to travel deep in the lungs, sometimes entering the bloodstream and causing far-reaching health effects. Breathing PM2.5 has been linked to short-term health effects, such as coughing, chest pain, and heart arrhythmia as well as long-term health effects, including heart and lung disease, cancer and early death.
In 2019, Jacksonville averaged an annual PM2.5 level of 8.8 μg/m3, safely within both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) threshold of 12 μg/m3 and the more stringent World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 10 μg/m3. On average, only 1 day a year reaches code “orange” unhealthy PM2.5. No months in 2019, moreover, exceeded the US AQI “good” standard.
Ozone is a highly irritating, highly reactive gas pollutant formed when sunlight causes precursor gases, nitrogen oxides, and organic substances to react. As with PM2.5 exposure, exposure to ozone can also cause coughing, heart and lung disease, respiratory infection, and early death.
Jacksonville only experienced 1 day a year of code orange ozone pollution in 2019. Spikes into unhealthy ozone levels generally lasted less than 8 hours. According to the “State of the Air” report published by the American Lung Association (ALA), Jacksonville ozone levels were relatively average on a national level. The city was ranked 153 for high ozone days out of 228 metropolitan areas included in the report.
Pollution from vehicular emissions (as a result of the city’s relatively large population), non-road fuel combustion, and port industry, combined with area’s relatively warm temperatures and stagnant air, all contribute to Jacksonville ozone pollution.
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida and the 12th most populous city in the US. As a result of the city’s density, vehicle emissions from cars, trucks, and SUVs, as well as non-mobile combustion sources, such as construction and industry machines, are higher and more concentrated than in rural areas. Typically, on-the-road mobile sources of air pollution contribute up to 40 to 50 percent of an urban area’s pollution emissions. This estimate is in line with the results of a Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) study conducted by the Environmental Resource Management Department of Jacksonville.4
Jacksonville is also home to several major military and civilian deep-water ports, including Florida’s largest container port, the Jacksonville Port Authority, as well as the Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and the U.S. Marine Corps Blount Island Command.5 Seaports emit large amounts of PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide, an important ozone precursor pollutant.
Most significant to Jacksonville’s ozone levels, however, is the city’s warm climate and relatively stagnant air, which creates an incubator for ozone formation. Jacksonville experiences 196 days a year of at least 80°F, roughly the temperature required for precursor pollutants to react in sunlight to form ozone.6
As temperatures continue to rise as a result of climate change, further reducing pollution emissions will be critical to improving city-wide ozone levels.
An air quality comparison across cities is highly dependent on the significance attributed to different pollutants. For simplicity, the comparison provided here will evaluate Orlando air quality, Tampa air quality, Miami air quality, and Jacksonville air quality on the basis of PM2.5 and ozone pollution using both annual averages and number of unhealthy pollution days.
For annual PM2.5 levels, Jacksonville averaged a higher, or worse, average (8.8 μg/m3) than Tampa (8.7 μg/m3), Miami (7.8 μg/m3), and Orlando (7 μg/m3). According to the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report, both Jacksonville and Miami were rated a “B” for 24-hour PM2.5, presented as a number of unhealthy PM2.5 days a city typically experiences in a year. Orlando and Tampa, on the other hand, tied for best for 24-hour PM2.5.
Ozone pollution is typically described as a number of days classified as “unhealthy” for ozone pollution. From the 2016-2018 monitoring period, Tampa was rated an “F” for ozone pollution, with 9 “orange” days and 1 more severe “red” day. Miami was rated a barely passing “D” grade, with 7 “orange” days. Orlando follows, with a “C” ozone grade and 3 “orange” ozone days. Jacksonville fared the best for ozone with a “B” rating and only 1 unhealthy “orange” ozone day.
By most comparisons using past data, Tampa comes out on top for worst air pollution, followed by Jacksonville, Miami, and Orlando. Scan the Florida air quality map to make real-time comparisons of air quality across all locations in the state.
Jacksonville air quality, and ozone levels in particular, has improved significantly over the past several decades. More recent progress, however, has been relatively stagnant since both measures met federal attainment in 2012.
Smog is a mixture of pollutants which combine to create a toxic haze. Jacksonville smog is primarily a combination of ozone and PM2.5 pollution. While ozone concentrations have leveled off in recent years, averaging just one unhealthy ozone day annually, PM2.5 levels have been slowly increasing.
From 2017 to 2018, Jacksonville PM2.5 levels have increased 38.5 percent from 5.2 μg/m3 to 7.2 μg/m3. From 2018 to 2019, PM2.5 levels increased once again by 22.2% from 7.2 μg/m3 to 8.8 μg/m3. Despite these year-over-year gains, PM2.5 levels in Jacksonville remain safely within the “good” AQI range.
Further air quality improvements will likely be dependent on lower emissions and increased fuel efficiency of vehicles, ships, and planes. These mobile pollution sources both comprise a large share of emissions and have an opportunity for improvement with the growing popularity and incentives for more electric transport.
+ Article Resources
 Harding A. (2018, April 18). Study: Florida's air quality is improving, but Jacksonville has average grade.
 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2019). Policy assessment for the review of the national ambient air quality standards for particulate matter, external review.
 American Lung Association. (2020). State of the air – 2020.
 Tilley L. (2004). The ten pollutant study in Jacksonville, Florida.
 Florida Ports Council. (2020). JAXPORT sets new cargo records in 2019.
 Current Results. (2020). Jacksonville temperatures: averages by month.