Earth Log

August 26, 2014

Earth Log: Already 16 good-air days in August

Earth Log

Mark Grossi's dispatches from the Valley battle with air quality and water use

Now for the good news: We've already had the best August on record since I started following air quality closely in 1995. 

Every year since the mid-1990s there have been more dirty-air days than clean-air days. Not this time. The clean-day count was 16 early this week.

To clarify, I'm referring to days when the ozone in the San Joaquin Valley's air does not exceed the federal eight-hour health standard.

I usually just count the good days at this time of year. There are not many.

How can you check for yourself? The California Air Resources Board web site carries a graphic with little red squares showing you the bad days. Mostly, the Valley's list looks like a bloody mess. 

But July wasn't quite as bad as usual. And now even if the Valley has exceedances every day until Sunday, it's still a memorable August.

What's going on? It could be a combination things. Valley air leaders often tell me that the air-quality rules are beginning to show results.

Meteorologists tell me the air seems to be moving and mixing a lot. Ozone needs sunshine, heat and only light breezes to move around.

Whatever it is, let's hope it keeps going next month. 

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About Mark Grossi

@markgrossi

Mark Grossi has the pulse of the San Joaquin Valley ecosystem, writing since 1993 about subjects such as the region's notorious air quality, the restoration of the San Joaquin River and unhealthy drinking water in rural towns. Twitter: @markgrossi Email Mark at mgrossi@fresnobee.com or call him at 559-441-6316.

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