Air qual­ity ‘not good for hu­mans’

The Province - - NEWS - SPENCER HARWOOD

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.

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