Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Air Quality Woes

Last night's fireworks displays caused some notable declines in air quality around the region.  At Neil Armstrong Academy in West Valley City there there was a rapid rise in PM2.5 concentrations just prior to 10 PM, coinciding with increases in individual and public fireworks displays, reaching a brief peak at a remarkably high 180 ug/m3.

Source: MesoWest

Elevated levels above about 40 ug/m3 persisted through about 3 AM, after which they declined to much lower levels.

Sith mostly sunny skies and hot temperatures kicking photochemistry into overdrive, ozone concentrations over the past five afternoon at Hawthorne Elementary have peaked at levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Source: DAQ
Today and the next three days are expected to be no different.
Source: DAQ
Unlike high wintertime PM2.5, which is typically confined to the Salt Lake Valley, the nearby Wasatch Mountains are probably no safe haven from the high ozone as they are also enveloped in the urban airmass and might even observe higher ozone concentrations than the city (this is common in forested areas adjacent to urban areas due to a variety of factors that perhaps we can discuss in the future).

Probably the best thing you can do for cleaner air this week is to simply avoid running outdoor gas-driven power equipment like lawnmowers and leaf blowers.  My lawn needs cutting, but I'll probably hold off on mowing until we get a good wind blowing in the valley again.

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