Chances are you have been breathing a little easier this summer.
According to the Clean Air Campaign, the state has not recorded a single “smog alert” day so far this summer. Those alerts are triggered when the amount of ozone or particle pollution reaches unhealthy levels.
“There are a couple of factors at play. We’ve had an inordinate amount of rainfall throughout the spring and now into the summer and the rains have succeeded at washing away or helping to be an antidote for some of the formation of ground-level ozone pollution and particle pollution,” said Brian Carr, Director of Communications for the Clean Air Campaign.
Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division collects the air pollution data. Chief Meteorologist Bill Murphey said the rain and cloud cover have led to lower average temperatures, which have held down the production of ozone.
“To get our ozone violations, we need typically sunny skies, hot temperatures and calm winds,” explained Murphey. “We need stable, stagnant conditions.”
While the weather has offered relief, it has made it hard to know whether people have reduced their contributions to air pollution.
“We really don’t even have a chance to look at that based on the weather pattern we’re in,” Murphey said.
Typically, the state sees anywhere from 20 to 30 smog alert days each year.
“This could be considered some cause for celebration in the sense that we are getting a lot of relief that was unexpected,” said Carr. “But it’s equally important to understand that this could be very short-lived. Traffic patterns are expected to normalize around the back to school time of the year when more people will be out on the roads.”
Carr said people should try carpooling, using transit or biking to reduce air pollution.