LOCAL NEWS

Warm fall weather causes air quality to drop again

Nov 15, 2022, 5:35 AM | Updated: 9:32 am
air quality...
Photo from Flickr @Mark Campbell

No, it’s not wildfire smoke, but once again Puget Sound area air quality is on the decline. This time, it is our current dry, sunny, fall weather pattern creating poorer air quality.

High pressure aloft has put a lid of warmer air on top of the cooler-than-average air near the surface, creating what is called a temperature inversion.

Whiplash weather turns cooler and drier this week

These inversions trap pollutants close to the surface, creating stagnant conditions. The warmer air aloft has freezing levels near 9,000 feet Tuesday morning.

Monday morning, many Puget Sound area air quality sensors rose from the good to moderate category. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has put a Stage 1 Air Quality Burn Ban in place for parts of the Puget Sound area. High levels of wood smoke during nighttime hours have resulted in poorer air quality. Other pollutants like auto and industrial emissions also accumulate under a temperature inversion.

Though air quality may improve during the day, the nighttime stagnant conditions could lead to air quality values being unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Also, it has not rained since Nov. 8 with essentially no rain expected heading into this weekend. So the temperature inversion and resulting stagnant conditions are expected to continue through this week.

What is a temperature inversion? An inversion is when the air aloft is warmer than cooler air near the surface. An analogy would be a mountain lake during summer. The water near the surface is warm, but if you jump in, it is much colder just a few feet below. The same temperature profile in a temperature inversion occurs on a grand scale like we are experiencing right now.

Autumn involves longer nights and shorter days. During extended weather patterns with clear skies and light winds, temperature inversions can become established.

A temperature inversion can occur at any time of the year but is most frequent during the fall and winter seasons. Cooler air is heavier and tends to slide into low-lying areas like valleys. Many outlying areas like Olympia and Arlington had temperatures drop into the 20s. Meanwhile, temperatures in the mountains were in the 30s and 40s.

The next threat of rain appears to be sometime early next week. But until then, air quality in the Puget Sound area is not anticipated to improve.

Follow Ted Buehner, the KIRO FM news meteorologist on Twitter 

Local News

I-90 Pileup...
Bill Kaczaraba

I-90 near Easton is open in both directions following a 15-car crash

I-90 eastbound near Easton has been closed due to a 15-car collision, the Washington Department of Transportation reported late today.
1 day ago
antisemitism...
Nicole Jennings

WA seeing major rise in antisemitism amidst hateful celebrity rhetoric

Acts of antisemitism are on the rise in Washington, with this year set to reach an all-time high in number of acts of hate against the Jewish community.
2 days ago
Seattle likes Taylor Swift songs...
Micki Gamez

Seattle’s most downloaded songs and artists may surprise you

Newly released Spotify data says Taylor Swift is Seattle's most downloaded and listened to artist of the year 2022.
3 days ago
Stevens Pass skiing...
Heather Bosch

Stevens Pass vows to do better during this ski and snowboard season

The Stevens Pass Ski resort is open and it's under pressure to show skiers and snowboarders it has changed for the better.
3 days ago
Sunken ship Pacific...
Feliks Banel

Sunken ship lost 150 years ago, found off WA coast

The wreck of a sunken ship off the coast of Washington nearly 150 years ago has been found by a pair of maritime historians.
3 days ago
Puget Sound snow...
Bill Kaczaraba

Some snow into the Puget Sound region overnight

Friday snow is always a little bit different than Monday through Thursday snow. Friday snow is generally part of the holiday wonder.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Warm fall weather causes air quality to drop again