Cold weather welcomes returning inversion
Recent storms have improved the air quality here in the Grand Valley, but experts say the clean air may not be sticking around.
How can you stop an inversion from forming? There’s no simple answer to that question.
Conditions in the Grand Valley are ripe for the inversion to return.
"If cold weather continues, especially if snow remains on the ground, pollution levels will jump back up really quickly," Ed Brotsky, Air Quality Specialist for the Mesa County Health Department, said.
A solid snowpack early in the season often creates a cycle that's tough to break.
The snow keeps the air close to the ground cold. That increases the potential for inversion. This week’s forecast pretty much sums up those conditions.
"Any sort of activity will just about contribute to it."
Some of the biggest factors in our valley are cars and wood burning.
The returning inversion is bad news for those prone to getting sick.
"All the pollution that we generate tends to just hang above out heads and it doesn't have a chance to escape out into the upper atmosphere," Brotsky explained.
Colorado air quality regulators have announced a rule change for the Front Range that would allow most new vehicles to go seven years before getting pollution tests, instead of four years under the current requirements.
The commission says air quality won't suffer because of the changes.
So what does cause all the pollution? It can't be blamed on a single factor or solved with any one regulation.
"There is no single silver bullet,” Brotsky said. “It’s a collective effort from the community."
Copyright 2012 KJCT. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
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