Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ozone Update from 11-09

An Ozone Update from www.OzoneInformation.Com 11-02-09


I've been hearing a lot of "buzz" on the radio today on why San Antonio "dodged" high ozone this summer.

First of all, I'm happy we did.

I've heard and read that the "Air Quality Health Alerts" were behind our success. While they might have helped, there is no record of them keeping us from going over 75 ppb. in the past and it is very hard to measure their impact. More often than not, they are issued when conditions either don't pan out or are not issued when ozone is already elevated.

While they might have helped, I have not heard anything mentioned about the fact that we had no low pressures (tropical storms or hurricanes) in the Gulf this summer, very few NE wind days, a slumping national economy and one of the coolest summers ever recorded in the northern parts of the country. These are more than likely the more important reasons that we stayed under 75 ppb. this year. While you did mention to the SA Business Journal that our local economy might have lead more people to driving less, there was no mention of distant coal fire plants and manufacturing plants in the NE polluting less, due to the economy. There was also less pollution from China this summer.

Even more interesting, is that this summer was the warmest and one of the driest ever recorded for San Antonio. Our electrical usage set many records and clear skies allowed an abundance of UV radiation (important in ozone formation) to rain down on us. Despite this, we stayed under 75 ppb. because our winds rarely blew from the East and NE. When we finally did get some early cool fronts, they came with clouds and moisture, protecting us from a high ozone event.

I really wish AACOG would do a better job in communicating these events with the media. While I realize it's human nature to want to give yourselves credit for positive ozone news, you still need to discuss other possibilities, in my opinion.

Mark Langford

Story from SA Biz Journal:

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