Google, Air quality index, Air pollution PODCAST: Wildfires impact on air quality | Everything Under the Sun
Now i think, as we go through this year because of the increased amounts of kova that were seeing again with the delta variant now, the delta plus variant and the story of wildfires and smoke problems that are going to continue to plague many parts of our country. Not only for the next couple of weeks, but really months and and john is as we look at this i know. Accuweather has really over the last couple of years, even before this thought about smoke and air pollution and covid, and that nexus between how one would affect the other, or vice versa, wed already been planning to really up our forecasting uh situation in terms of air quality And looking at that – and i think weve done a great job and it seems like that part of the equation not only whether to get it right, whether its going to rain or not or be sunny or not. But how good the air is becomes. More and more important every day when we look at it dean, i think thats uh spot on and in fact, thats the response that weve heard from our consumers and also our our business customers here at accuweather, who have had a increasing interest in air quality. Recognizing the real toll that air quality has on human health in terms of the kinds of damage that can quickly happen if people are breathing in these fine particulates or some of the gases that result in air quality reductions, it can have real health impacts, and here, At accuweather, we actually believe that air pollution is the number one weather related impact to people globally, uh, even more than uh impacts, negative impacts to peoples, health and safety from hurricanes and flooding flooding, all kinds of other things from their weather, traditional weather, things that we Tracked and said, oh, these are really bad things.
This part of it becomes even more damaging in the long term to our human health. It sure does its, as you said, really bad when you start breathing in continuously uh air that is polluted and increasingly, as were seeing across the country here, even in the last couple of weeks, the places that are seeing air quality reductions as a result of some Of the wildfire smoke has been widespread, the smoke is being transferred, thousands and thousands of miles away from where its being produced and and part of it, too is look im, uh, im, mid 50s youre, just a tad younger john, but um. We, you know, grew up. At least i grew up with air pollution general issues when i was a kid in the 70s, so you know looking outside at times. I would see here in pennsylvania, gray skies a lot. You know there was that, and but that was more emissions from the surface, that we were doing with the cars and and the fuel, and that kind of thing now um again – and this is a different scenario, because a lot of this goes back to i dont Want to get caught in the minutia here, but practices in terms of the way we forested those areas out west, so more fires. Worse, fires, i mean i was looking at the satellite last night. You could see the fire on the infrared goes satellite thats how hot these fires are.
So these are going to continue to burn so yeah its its something i dont think a lot of us, and especially younger folks, are used to. Why is the sky so gray and tinged with gray, when it feels so good and beautiful out thats a little counter intuitive? It is, and it also has been surprising to some people that uh, as we talked about days in advance here at accuweather, when it happened. Uh the episodes on the east coast, where the smoke has been not only just obscuring the sky, as you mentioned dean, but actually down to the ground, to the point where youre smelling it right right and then yeah, we werent, you know it was funny. I went through that a couple of weeks ago and i you know some people like smelling smoke, im wondering about that, but yeah just the way the atmosphere can work. Sometimes it can force it down and especially when we get the longer stretches of heat and humidity, which seems to like trap and get you know you get so stagnant, so yeah. I i wanted to talk to you again were talking to john porter here, our senior vice president for weather content and forecast operations, our chief meteorologist, what are some of the things accuweathers doing. I know we have partnered with some folks to get better air quality information that we put on our app and put on our website on a daily basis.
Talk a little bit about that yeah thats, a great tool and its available for free on the accuweather app. You just download our accuweather app out of the app store or google play and search accuweather to do that and right on the home screen dean to your point. We have uh the air quality index down to your neighborhood. Now. Air quality is an interesting thing because it can vary quite a lot, just like the weather. We know in a day in a day in an hour right, right and weve. Seen that too, on some days where i look at st louis and i look at all the webcams clear as a bell by the afternoon, its all hazy, because that bit of smoke in the atmosphere has moved – and that can happen into the surface quickly. Like you said, you got it and thats available. You can see how it is today and then our forecast out to the next several days hour by hour, pinpointed down to your neighborhood and its a great tool to if youre going to think about protecting yourself. Enhancing your health around minimizing outdoor activities during these times when uh, when there are air quality problems now the other thing ill mention thats for again accessible for free everybody. We also have that on maps, so you can see how it varies across your area and across the state or around the country, if youre interested as well as well as that information being provided globally now for businesses dean, we also are providing some new unique services Around alerting around air quality, this is under our accuweather for business umbrella.
Yes, around the accuweather from for business umbrella, because some states, like california, for example, californias occupational safety and health administration, cal osha, has rules that they put into place last year that when the air quality goes above 150, so thats when there starts to be some uh Real concerns from a pollution perspective and then again when that air quality index gets above 500 thats a really really bad right air quality day right. There are certain rules that employers who have people working outside have to provide n95 masks and make other accommodations. So we tie directly into those different levels and notify businesses on a location by location basis through our skyguard platform, so that they can start enhancing safety for for their staff members and make sure that theyre compliant, which is obviously very important with the state regulations. So were going to see more and more of that dean, i think, and i think the other thing that we can do john is educate, because i think one of these things, and and sometimes with all these indices and stuff people dont understand – i mean we did – That a little bit with with mr kaiser there talking about what the difference between find particular matter, 2.5 and 20 and ozone and those those kinds of things but yeah as we educate people, of what those numbers really mean. I mean we know that a temperature of 90 or better feels hot. We know that a wind at 60 miles per hour stronger, can be damaging.
What do those numbers mean, and i think well continue to do that um? You know this wildfire situation, as i said from a forecast standing point i mean i just dont, see this alleviating any time and soon in the next few months, those canadian wildfires probably another month or two and the ones out west i mean that could be several Months as this continues, it could be several months and you and, as you point out, were starting now to get into the heart of the wildfire season here over the coming months in places like northern california and then eventually, southern california, as we head through the end Of the summer and into the fall so those fires, unfortunately, that situation is going to be getting worse, which creates more of an opportunity for the western, united states and other parts of the country, as weve seen to be dealing with a smoke issue. Even if your community is not affected by a wildfire theres, the possibility that you could be dealing with health impacts from from the significant wildfire season that were talking about underpinned by this horrible multi year, drought across the south or across the southwest, to listen to the Full episode, just click the links below and never miss a podcast by subscribing to everything under the sun on apple podcast, spotify or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast new episodes.