Jul 06 2010
If you’re not feeling well during this weather it’s not just the heat, it’s the air.
Bright sunshine and temperatures over 90 have brewed up some really bad air quality.
Shown above is our National Weather Service “1-hour average” ozone forecast for 5:00pm today. Red means unhealthy air and as you can see it’s not confined to cities.
Ozone is cosmopolitan because it’s formed in the sky and blows with the wind. It’s created when heat and sunlight cause nitrous oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to chemically combine into O3. NOx and VOCs come from motor vehicles, power plants, industry and chemical emissions and from those new gas well compressor stations popping up in Pennsylvania. That’s why we’re urged not to drive so much and to use less electricity on Ozone Action Days.
We’re also told to stay indoors. That may work for us but it doesn’t help birds, animals and plants that have nowhere else to go. Ozone is harmful to their respiratory systems, too, and it burns sensitive plants.
So we’re all limiting our activity today – a sort of Ozone Inaction Day – and waiting for the weather to change.
Bad news for everything that breathes.
(NOAA’s 1-hour ozone prediction for the Eastern Great Lakes for 5:00pm July 6, 2010 (as of noon on July 5). Click on the image and the Loop Control arrow to watch the latest animation on the NOAA website.)