About MW Hazecam
To provide the public with information about visibility throughout the upper Midwest,
the Midwest Regional Planning Organization, in cooperation with a number of other groups,
established a visibility camera network. The network includes several urban
(Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; St. Paul, MN; and St. Louis, MO) and rural locations
(Seney NWR, MI, Grand Portage, MN). Site operators include state and local air pollution control
agencies, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The images from the cameras are updated every 15 minutes.
In addition, near real-time air quality data (instantaneous) and
meteorological data (hourly average) are provided to distinguish
natural from man-made causes of poor visibility, and to provide
current air pollution levels to the public.
For many years, visibility impairment has been considered
the "best understood and most easily measured effect of air
pollution." (Council on Environmental Quality, 1978) Visibility
impairment due to regional haze is a problem affecting many areas
throughout the U.S., especially national parks and wilderness areas.
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977 require the prevention of any
future, and the remedying of any existing, impairment of visibility
in Class I areas which impairment results from manmade air pollution."
(Class I areas are defined as the larger national parks and wilderness
areas in existence in 1977.) In 1999, USEPA promulgated rules to
address visibility impairment due to regional haze. Regional haze
is visibility impairment caused by the cumulative air pollutant
emissions from numerous sources over a wide geographic area.