Nov 12, 2010
The first half of November has seen a higher concentration of smog across Southeastern Wisconsin. There has been a couple of reasons why the air has been unhealthy to breathe.
The first reason is more people are burning leaves and wood this time of the year which emits more pollution into the lower atmosphere. The burning of wood releases more air particle pollution than other form of burning such as your furnace. The second reason is these air pollution particles have become trapped in the lower atmosphere due to a meteorological term called an Inversion.
Surface inversions tend to be stronger in the fall and winter as the ground loses heat faster when the sun sets earlier in the evening. However, the air just above the surface remains warmer than the air below. This is what is called an inversion or a lid. Once the inversion dissipates the smog will clear and the quality of air will improve which appears to be happening today.
Here are some shots from Lincoln Memorial Drive along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Notice the smog hovering over downtown from the distance.
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