Assessing Visibility Using Haze Cams

Air pollution not only causes adverse health effects and environmental damage, but also results in haze which impairs visibility. Haze is caused by particles that absorb and scatter light resulting in reduced visibility.  Sources of particles are both naturally occurring (e.g., forest fires, volcanoes, etc.) or can be man-made (e.g​​​., power plants, automobiles, etc.).  The particles can be emitted by local sources or transported long distances before arriving in Maryland.  Hazy conditions in the Eastern U.S. are generally caused by regional man-made sources.  For this reason, in 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued regulations to address regional haze and restore visibility to its natural conditions for 156 national parks and wilderness areas (​).

​​There are no affected national parks or wilderness areas in Maryland.  However, the Department of the Environment is committed to doing its part to reduce pollution as well as improving visibility to help enhance the natural beauty of the state's mountains, parks, beaches, and the Chesapeake Bay.  Real-time haze cameras, or haze cams, allow us to measure and see the effects of air pollution on visibility.  The Department operates haze cams at two locations as part of CAMNET, a project of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM).  An enhanced wide angle haze cam is located in Baltimore, MD with a viewing angle that spans across the Francis Scott Key Bridge and Baltimore City.  The second haze cam is positioned on top of a local mountain peak in Frostburg, MD, amongst other peaks on the Allegheny Plateau in Garrett County.  The viewing angle for this haze cam points towards the northwest and spans across Maryland into the Mt. Davis area of Pennsylvania.

Real-time haze cam imagery for Baltimore and Frostburg are provided below.  Additional haze cams in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are available through CAMNET website.  The last 12 hours of the Baltimore haze cam imagery (Key Bridge view) can be seen in the animation below. 

Past 12 hours Baltimore HazeCam  

 Baltimore, MD Wide Angle Haze Cam

Haze camera view of Baltimore, MD 


Frostburg, MD Haze Cam

Haze camera view of Frostburg, MD 

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