Sponsored by

Cold temperatures bring haze to desert

Pollutants become trapped in chilly air

Early risers may have wondered why the sky appears hazy in the mornings now that temperatures are dropping.

This effect is called temperature inversion, and is caused by falling temperatures, which trap pollutants in the chilly air, while the warm air above traps the cool air down below. When the sun comes up the chilly air warms, and rises, taking the pollutants with it, and therefore clearing up visibility.

Temperature inversions are even more enhanced by the mountains surrounding the city, which create a downward flow of the cold air onto the desert floor, according to a Pima County Department of Environmental Quality press release.

This additional cold air can increase the strength and duration of the hazy morning weather.

Although the pollution is visible, the levels of pollutants in the air are not high enough to impact health, said Beth Gorman of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality.

Light scattering and the angle of the sun in the morning make the haze even more visible, she said.

To reduce pollutants in the air, the county advises Tucsonans to minimize their time on the road and to car pool.

Fireplaces also add more pollutants to the air and are actually an inefficient source of heat, according to the press release. Natural gas and electric solar-powered heat or a wood stove certified by the Environmental Protection Agency, are better options for heat, the press release said.

Thanks for reading TucsonSentinel.com. Tell your friends to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Daily information on local pollution levels, including particulates, ozone and carbon monoxide readings can be found at www.AirInfoNow.org.

- 30 -
have your say   

Comments

There are no comments on this report. Sorry, comments are closed.

Sorry, we missed your input...

You must be logged in or register to comment

Click image to enlarge

grant_loy/Flickr

Air appears hazy near the Rincon Mountains in December 2010.