Air quality ‘not good for humans’
A blood-orange sun rose over much of British Columbia on Monday, a warning of high levels of smoky particulate and elevated groundlevel ozone in the air.
Environment Canada has issued air quality advisories for every region of B.C., except Haida Gwaii on the northern edge of Vancouver Island and a small corner of the province bordering Yukon and Alaska.
Meteorologist Matt MacDonald of Environment Canada said 20 straight days without rain combined with the past nine days of stagnant heat and sunlight have reacted with vehicle emissions and chemical solvents, which have produced elevated levels of ground-level ozone in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
“It’s not good for humans,” said MacDonald.
He said tests show ozone levels were at moderate risk, adding that Monday and Tuesday would likely be the sunniest days of the week and see higher levels.
The warm, dry weather is due to a “semi-permanent California high,” said MacDonald, a ridge of high pressure that rotates clockwise from northern California to Alaska. It’s also why British Columbia has seen smoke from wildfires in the United States and across the Pacific Ocean.
An air-quality advisory issued by Metro Vancouver said the smog is in addition to a layer of wildfire smoke from a bog that’s on fire in Richmond, blazes in the B.C. Interior, United States and as far away as Greece.
The weather office says most of the advisories outside of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are due to high concentrations of wood smoke, and conditions could be revised on short notice, but those with heart or lung conditions, the elderly, infants and children were advised to limit exposure to the smoky air.
MacDonald said Environment Canada predicts temperatures may cool by as much as 10 degrees on Wednesday.