Aerosols/pollution in live weather

Air quality has been awful lately on the west coast of the United States — the sun has been orange and the skies have been brown. As nice as it is to fly in a pristinely clean simulated air, it would be neat to see pollution and poor air quality in the live weather.

Even in “normal” times, the sky in places like Los Angeles has a distinct look with smog hanging near the ground, below an inversion.

Air quality data is publicly available, at least at ground level. I wonder if it is accessible in a way that be can used in the sim to represent pollution in the atmosphere, particularly the kind that hangs low over cities with clear air above.

How about populating the world with air pollution data? Cities in Asia especially just don’t look quite right without it. The guys at IQair/Air Visual have a pretty impressive global dataset that they may be willing to share (If any devs are reading this, I can put them in touch - I have nothing to do with them but have been in touch with them on other projects. Happy to share a contact).


You can increase the aerosol in the weather settings. This will give you your desired affect.

Right - but I’m referring to the ‘live’ weather specifically. That isn’t modeled based on AQI data, right?


Ah OK, yes it probably won’t model that in live weather quite so well. The world in general is missing even basic effects such as smoke from chimneys which is pretty important for establishing wind direction whilst flying.


Yes you are correct. Unfortunately the depiction of visibility in the sim is somewhat flawed due to visibility data from the NEMS model disregards suspended particles like pollution and dust. As a consequence the atmosphere typically looks too clean. Furthermore, depiction of boundary layer haze during anticyclonic or inversions (which occur frequently) is non existent.
Such a pity because the clouds look amazing.


Interesting - yes, know what you mean about “too clean”, especially around places that would otherwise be quite polluted. It would be a wonderful addition.


This was mentioned in the pre-launch dev Q&A. Meteoblue has this data available, so it may be usable in sim someday.


and add light pollution above a city


Please create more dust over cities

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Actually would bring a next level of realism with polution in the air


I second this.

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The Aerosol parameter is there but I don’t think its being used and / or effective for things like the the ‘shimmer’ that we should see on a hot day near the ground and other environment phenomena - E.g on any night in the year, from any large city, the nightsky if visible is perfectly crystal clear in the sim!

The challenge is obtaining worldwide data for to help in adding this to the sim but I see Meteoblue does have such data so it should be possible to implement at some point. There is so much work to be done with the weather (like cloud structure and formation, layers) but I hop this is near the top of their ‘to-do’ in the weather / environment area.


Pollution over Montreal.


In my opinion, this is a METAR zone where MSFS tries to calculate the visibility based on METAR data.

In the countryside where I live, there are small villages and towns with 1000-2000 inhabitants within a 20-30 km radius and an airport with METAR. I usually find similar visibility at the right METAR values, even though there is no air pollution all year round.

To the best of my knowledge, air pollution is not - yet - handled by the program.

Hi all, I never noticed pollution simulation in cities, but it should be really amazing and realistic if you did so in real live weather.

Today I was approaching to SBSP (São Paulo) and the weather was amazing looking like the realistic pollution view of the city.

I don’t know if you are really simulating pollution, or this fog was another coincident weather condition.

If you are simulating already, you did a great job!!

If you don’t, should be great to have this pollution frog in cities more frequently just like in real life conditions.

Here is some of my screenshots of this stunning weather conditions I toke today in flight sim, which I’m not sure is representing pollution or not. But really looks like pollution !!

I noticed visibility in several cities in India was quite poor - one so poor that the runway was barely visible until you were close. This was in the sim in March 2022. I assumed this was air pollution that was being correctly displayed & that the information came from METAR. If METAR was just saying that visibility was ‘x’ and the sim displayed ‘x’ then what more should or could the sim do? Is it a question of different colours or what?

I’m pretty much a newcomer to this sim, but I’ve spent many hours flying in the real world.
I believe, in my humble opinion, that the raison d’être of a “simulator” is being distorted.

Asking for trivial details, snow, for the trees to change color in autumn, pollution in the cities, seeing a relative on the balcony at home… we are distorting what should really be the objective of a “flight simulator”.

I think that we should concentrate on asking for a real behavior of the planes in windy situations, weather conditions “approximate” to reality (it is impossible to reproduce the exact situation of each point in the world)…that is, the same as the Professional simulators give the pilots they teach.
To see the portal of your house, there is already Google Maps…

Please, I don’t mean to offend anyone, it’s just an opinion.

I think it depends on us, on our requirements, whether this program would be the best non-professional flight simulator in the world or just another game, very fun.

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