Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Salt Lake, We Have a Problem

Looking down at the University of Utah from the Avenues
Twin Peaks, 27 Dec 2011
I'm appalled at how quickly our air quality has declined the past couple of days.  This is an emotional reaction that perhaps warrants a more careful scientific analysis, but it blows my mind that we can go from relatively clean air on the 23rd, to a particular matter (PM2.5) levels above National Ambient Air Quality Standards in just four days.

Source: Utah Division of Air Quality
As noted on the DAQ trend chart above, the real-time data they provide is not quality assured, and some of the spiking in the observations seems odd, but visually the transformation in the valley is simply incredible.

This is purely anecdotal, but it is my impression that the air quality situation in the valley has worsened the past couple of years.  When inversions develop, the air quality seems to deteriorate more rapidly than it used to.  The current event has occurred during a period when we don't even have snow on the ground!  

It's a damn shame that the state that promotes itself as Life Elevated, can only show our ski and snowboard visitors who arrive or stay in Salt Lake PM2.5 Elevated.  


  1. What makes the NAO and AO go negative? I need to know so I can make it happen.

  2. I hear talk of signs of a pattern change coming in the next week or two, any thoughts on that?

  3. I think that's a long ways out to make predictions with any level of confidence.