Wednesday, February 21, 2024

No burn alert has been issued by the Air Quality South Coast district

If you have a fireplace in Southern California, experts are asking you not to use it. A no-burn alert has been extended even into Wednesday as much of the region sits under an atmospheric soup of haze and pollutants.

The alert was issued Monday by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. The alert prohibits any burning of wood or manufactured fire logs made of wax or paper due to poor air quality in the region.

Current weather conditions are contributing to air quality problems, says one expert.

“Basically, the weather conditions we’re seeing are light winds and not much vertical mixing in the upper atmosphere, which can lead to high levels of fine particle pollution,” said Scott Epstein, a supervisor. of the South Coast AQMD.

Stefanie Sullivan, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says that the poor air quality is first and foremost in the “shallow” layer of the ocean that causes the so-called temperature change. Instead of the temperature decreasing with height, it increases.

“That acts as a cover,” Sullivan said, “so the air never rises beyond that level, trapping all the smoke and pollutants.”

How A Marine Inversion Traps Pollution.A shallow sea change kept dirty air trapped in the LA Basin for days.

Epstein said the AQMD tracks many pollutants, including ozone and fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5. The latter type of pollution is very dangerous for respiratory health because particles can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing asthma attacks and other health problems.

Ozone tends to be a bigger issue during the warmer months of March through October because atmospheric concentrations of the pollutant increase with heat. Fine particulate matter is a bigger issue in the cooler months of November through February; there have been eight days without a burn this Southern California winter.

Epstein says the alerts are issued after certain pollutant concentrations are reached anywhere within AQMD’s jurisdiction.

If any part of the region exceeds the pollutant threshold, a no-burn alert is issued for the entire area. Epstein said this is because emissions, including those produced by burning wood, can be transferred and affect areas with averages below the threshold.

“Poor air quality is moving around,” he said.

For Wednesday’s alert, Epstein said two areas are projected to exceed the threshold: Perris Valley and the Riverside metro area. Other parts of the region are forecast to have near-threshold conditions, including the eastern San Bernardino valley and the Norco-Corona area.

Esptein said that the inland parts of the region, especially Riverside and San Bernardino counties, tend to have higher concentrations of PM2.5.

“That’s not necessary because they have a lot of emissions,” Epstein said. “It happened west of there and then blew east.”

Fortunately, rain is in the forecast and will help clear some of the trapped pollution. Repeated rain is expected this week, according to the National Weather Service.

“When you get rain, you also get wind that can clean things like that,” Epstein said.

For those who want to view the Air Quality Index forecast or for real-time air quality updates, visit AQMD.gov.

World Nation News Desk
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