Air Quality Awareness Week – Tuesday

AIR QUALITY CAN VARY…DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH AIR POLLUTION IS PRODUCED IN YOUR COMMUNITY…HOW MUCH POLLUTION IS CARRIED INTO YOUR COMMUNITY BY THE WIND…AND BY WEATHER CONDITIONS.

OZONE FORMS WHEN TWO GROUPS OF KEY POLLUTANTS…NITROGEN OXIDES AND VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS…COOK IN THE SUN. FOR EXAMPLE…PARTICULATE MATTER CAN BE DIRECTLY EMITTED IN SMOKE FROM A WOODSTOVE…BUT A LOT OF PARTICLES FORM WHEN GASES REACT IN THE AIR. NITROGEN OXIDES AND SULFUR DIOXIDES CONTRIBUTE TO PARTICULATE MATTER FORMATION.

THESE OZONE AND PARTICLE FORMING POLLUTANTS COME FROM A WIDE VARIETY OF SOURCES…INCLUDING CARS…TRUCKS…BUSES…POWER PLANTS…AND INDUSTRIES. NATURAL SOURCES SUCH AS WILDFIRES AND DUSTSTORMS CONTRIBUTE TO PARTICULATE MATTER POLLUTION. TREES AND OTHER VEGETATION ALSO EMIT ORGANIC COMPOUNDS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO PARTICULATE MATTER AND OZONE POLLUTION.

WEATHER PLAYS A BIG ROLE IN THE LEVELS OF OZONE AND PARTICULATE MATTER POLLUTION IN YOUR COMMUNITY. SUNLIGHT AND HEAT PROMOTE OZONE FORMATION. LIGHT WINDS AND TEMPERATURE INVERSIONS CAN KEEP POLLUTION CONCENTRATED NEAR THE GROUND. DEPENDING ON ITS DIRECTION…THE WIND CAN BRING IN MORE POLLUTION…SOMETIMES FROM HUNDREDS OF MILES AWAY.

TOMORROW WE WILL LEARN ABOUT THE HEALTH IMPACTS OF POOR AIR QUALITY.

…courtesy NWS/Memphis

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