RALEIGH, N.C. News – The days are getting longer, and the temperatures are getting warmer, but that can often be a breeding ground for poor air quality due to ozone.
This timeframe is known as Ozone Season which is from March 1 to Oct. 31.
Here’s the thing about Ozone: it’s a good thing, but only when it’s more than 10 miles in the air.
“We really like Ozone being here because it blocks a lot of the ultraviolet radiation from the sun that would be really harmful, especially for our skin, if it were to reach us at the ground level,” explains Corey Davis, the assistant state climatologist at the State Climate Office.
So if Ozone is a good thing, how can it cause poor air quality?
Davis said it’s because our warmest days with the most sunlight creates ozone right at the surface when it’s combined with one major factor: pollution.
“On some of our hottest summer days when we have high pressure in place, that sinking air in the atmosphere, that’s helping to keep that pollution right at the ground level,” he explained.
There is some good news.
Our ozone days have dramatically decreased.
More than 20 years ago, North Carolina started curbing factory and car emissions, and it’s paid off for our air quality, especially in the last decade.
“Just in the last 10 years we’ve seen a big change from almost two months of bad air quality to next to none,” Davis said.
While we’ve had fewer code orange and red days, there will still be days where the air causes issues.
The Climate Office has interactive tools to keep us in the know, however, so we can breathe easier. To check out the Climate Office’s Air Quality tools, click here.
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