Today we highlight the causes of poor air quality…
Your air quality can vary, depending on how much air pollution is produced in your community, as well as 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. Particle pollution 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 particle 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 particle pollution. Trees and other vegetation also emit organic compounds that contribute to particle and ozone pollution.
Weather plays a big role in the levels of ozone and particle 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. Geography can affect pollution levels too. Mountain ranges can prevent pollution from dispersing.
For more information on air quality awareness week...visit us on the world wide web at www.airquality.noaa.gov.