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Breaking it Down with Brittney - Smog

Air Quality and Smog Explainer
Posted at 7:42 AM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 08:46:58-04

AIR QUALITY ALERT & SMOG: Have you tasted the air lately? It's flavored like a bonfire, from the wildfires. So why exactly does certain weather send pollutants to ground level, causing breathing issues?

Let’s start with the basics: high and low pressure. If a high pressure is in the region, air will try to sink down to the surface, while low pressure produces air that rises up from the ground.

Now, air generally cools as it rises; if air warms as it rises, that’s called an inversion because the air is inverted (put in the opposite order). Cooler air is more dense than warmer air and cannot rise above a layer of warm air under most circumstances.

So smog occurs when warmer, sinking air caused by a high pressure, traps the cooler air below it, creating a sliver of air that becomes stagnant and unable to clear out. That's when all the filth in the air, starts to accumulate in that layer. Air quality alerts and warnings will be issued and you need to limit your time outdoors.