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Southern California Region

Counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino Summary


Southern California is home to approximately half of all Californians. Coupled with the large population, significant challenges due to weather and geography make improving air quality more difficult in the region. Sunny weather and other conditions in the basin allow smog to form more easily. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, pollutants are also easily trapped as stagnant air lingers in the basin. The worst air quality in the region tends to occur in San Bernardino and the eastern parts of the basin due to smog transport patterns from coastal areas. The South Coast Air Basin also transports pollution to the Coachella Valley, Mojave Desert and San Diego areas.

2012 SOTA Grades (2008-2010 Air Quality Data)


Ozone Pollution Despite its lowest ever number of high ozone pollution days, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside metropolitan area is rated as the most ozone polluted area of the United States. The region has been ranked first for 12 out of 13 SOTA reports going back to SOTA 2000. Individual counties in the region also dominate the national rankings of most polluted by ozone: San Bernardino (1), Riverside (2), Los Angeles and (5). Orange County also earned an F, but had 75 fewer annual bad ozone days recorded than other parts of the region.

Particulate Pollution Short Term-Particulates The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside area again ranked in the top five nationally for short-term PM (4th). Each individual county earned an F grade and Riverside (4th), Los Angeles (8th) and San Bernardino (25th) are ranked among the most polluted counties in the nation for short-term particulate pollution days. While there were small upticks in PM days in some parts of the region, San Bernardino County saw its annual average number of PM days drop from 17.7 to 6.3 since last years report. Annual Particulates The Los Angeles metro area is ranked 2nd in the nation for annual particulate concentrations, due to levels recorded in Riverside County. All other counties have earned a PASS grade in SOTA 2012, including Los Angeles and San Bernardino which previously failed.

Grades County
Los Angeles Orange Riverside San Bernardino

Ozone Ozone Days Grade


86.2 10.7 111.3 127.8 F F F F

PM Days
20.3 6.2 28.8 6.3

PM Grade
F F F F

Annual Annual PM PM Value Grade


14.4 11.9 17.0 14.5 Pass Pass Fail Pass

Number of Days reported equals the weighted annual average of unhealthy days recorded over the three-year period of 2008-2010.

Key Pollution Sources


Mobile sources, including on- and off-road diesel fueled-vehicles, cars, trucks buses and locomotives, ships and aircraft contribute approximately 90 percent of pollution in the region Ports and goods movement (contributes to regional pollution and generates significant toxic diesel particulate matter hot spots near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach) Stationary sources including oil refineries and power plants Area sources, including residential wood burning

Clean Air Progress


Ongoing, steady progress in reducing air pollution in Southern California is paying off, with great successes in reducing ozone and particularly PM pollution. Ozone Pollution The areas average number of high ozone days dropped by 33 percent, from 189.5 days per year in the initial 2000 SOTA report (1996-1998 data) to 126.2 days in this years report (2008-2010), a reduction of more than two months worth of unhealthy days per year. Particulate Pollution Short Term Particulates Southern California has made significant progress in reducing the numbers of unhealthy particulate pollution days. Since SOTA 2007 (2003-2005 data), the Los Angeles metro area has seen a 53 percent reduction in short-term PM. Annual Particulates Annual concentrations of particulates have dropped by over 40 percent throughout the region, with all but Riverside County in attainment of federal standards for annual PM pollution and each earning a PASS grade in SOTA 2012. Both Los Angeles and San Bernardino County improved from a FAIL to a PASS since the last SOTA report. It is important to note that pollution levels measured in this report were affected by fluctuations in weather conditions and the addition of new particulate monitoring stations.

Trend Charts
Unhealthy air days shown in charts below represent a 3-year weighted average number of days recorded from 2008-2010. Days above the red line (3.3 annual average) earn the location an F grade.