Weather no answer in solving toxic air crisis

Polluted air go away and don’t come back another day.

Don’t I wish!

Lately I have read what seems like scores of articles drawing attention to the weather. There appears to be no shortage of news related to the drought and warm temperatures that have been affecting the U.S. west as well as the cold, frigid, Arctic air that’s been blanketing the east. But, it isn’t just the extreme weather garnering notice. Two more – and no less top-of-the-mind – news-related items (concerns) are the air itself and its contamination.

So, in reading information about the western drought and relatively high temperatures (for this time of year, that is) in addition to news about what seems like air pollution that has been unrelenting, not unlike the ridge of high pressure that has parked itself over the west and the extreme weather’s root cause, it is in this regard that I’ve read statements related to another weather phenomenon – this time rain, the writers pointing out that it is precipitation in this form that could cleanse or, at least, help cleanse the air of its muck.

Though the dialog stops short of suggesting that it is Mother Nature’s responsibility to cleanse the air or, in other words, to leave it to meteorological conditions to take care of the air pollution crisis, I can’t help but feel that this is what many people are thinking, hoping, even expecting is the solution to the problem. While it is true, at times in this respect Mother Nature delivers, and while the rain and/or wind may prove to be an “at-that-instant-in-time” viable resolution, it is not a permanent one.

After all, it wasn’t natural events that caused the bulk of the pollution in the air we now have. And being that said pollution, by-and-large, was introduced into the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activity, likewise, the very same needs to be removed in an in-kind way – by anthropogenic activity.

ShipTracks_MODIS_2005may11[1]I use the word “needs” due to the fact the air cannot filter itself. It’d be nice if it could, but it can’t. And, what’s more, according to what I read just this morning, world air condition is not getting better; in fact, it’s growing worse and becoming more pernicious.

Just so you are aware, falling in the west over the next couple of days will be temperatures, rain and snow in the mountains, all on tap thus providing a much needed respite from what has been pollution’s grip on the air.

While this is far more favorable news than what has been front-and-center since December, remember this: Once the favorable climes clear out, as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, pollution in these here parts will return. Mark my words!

Image above: NASA

– Alan Kandel