Those in the know can lower their exposure. To understand air pollution, you need to know what you breathe over time. The latest update to the Plume Air Report—the now worldwide air quality forecasting app—is designed with actionable information in mind, to help you beat smog in every city on Earth.

Some air pollution sources are difficult to predict—think natural disasters, or unusual weather patterns—but there are pollution peaks that occur regularly throughout the year.

Take ozone—a pollutant most commonly associate with the summer months. Formed due to a chemical reaction between man-made emissions and sunlight, ozone can aggravate asthma and lead to eye irritation, respiratory problems and heart diseases.

In the winter, the biggest culprit is particulate matter. As the weather gets worse, people drive more, turn on heating systems to stay warm, and generally consume more energy.

Colder conditions also increase the incidence of PM peaks due to a greater likelihood of a weather phenomenon called the inversion layer.

An inversion occurs when warm air in the upper atmosphere traps a layer of colder air closer to the ground—the reverse of the conditions you would usually expect.

This “lid” of warm air prevents pollutants from dispersing, trapping particulate matter at ground level and causing pollution levels to spike even higher in polluted areas.

So how’s the air?

Los Angeles is known for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but unfortunately also for its ozone smog.

Although the 2017 State of the Air report from the American Lung Association noted that ozone levels in the city were lower than they have ever been in the region, it still ranks as the worst city in the USA for ozone smog.

It’s particular geography also creates the perfect conditions for inversion layers to form. Surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges, warm air traps pollutants at ground level making it harder for them to disperse when there is no wind.

The same American Lung Association report listed Los Angeles as the 5th worst city in America for year-round PM2.5 particulate pollution.

Feature spotlight

Throughout the year you can check the Air Report’s twenty-four hour forecasts to warn you of upcoming ozone peaks or particulate matter moments. Even better, turn on Smart Notifications to activate peak detection. We’ll send you a notification to let you know a spike is coming.

Double whammy, we offer tailored advice thresholds in the app. Launch the menu and head to the settings. Here, you can let us know your personal preferences—starting with pollution sensitivity. We’ll adjust the level at which we send you pollution alerts depending on your choice.

Next, select a favorite activity. When we send smart notifications, we’ll take your choice into account. Keen cyclist? We’ll let you know when to go for a ride. Worried about taking the kids to the park? We’ll let you know the best fresh air moments to plan the perfect picnic.

Need more info? Just tap the symbols at the bottom of the home screen. We’ll colour code the timeline to give you at-a-glance info as to the best moments to saddle up or head out.

In the news

Despite, or because of, the pollution issues in major Californian cities, the state has become a defender of environmental policy in the US. As the Trump Administration takes aim at green legislation—including the Clean Air Act—state-level politics is becoming vital in the fight to beat smog.

Though Los Angeles has been largely successful at improving air quality since the height of its air pollution worries in the 60s and 70s, recent research is leading to increased concern about particulate matter levels in the city. A rollback of clean air sections now could be fatal.