Hazardous Smoke Suffocates NYC!

After years of listening to non-experts claim that climate change is a hoax or telling us that the data has been skewed, we are now facing the dire consequences of this effect. 

Damage to Human Health

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As wildfires rage in Canada, smoke, particulate matter and harmful greenhouse gasses are being transported south into the Midwest and parts of the East coast of the United States. 

Smog like this coats the lower atmosphere with dangerous particles that could make it unsafe to leave your home and cause excessive damage to human health. 

Flaming Forests

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The wildfires themselves in Canada are said to be “unprecedented.”

This year, 7 million acres have already gone up in flames and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said “Our modeling shows this may be an especially severe wildfire season throughout this summer”.

This is incredibly scary for residents of these areas of Canada; some 26,000 people have already been evacuated from their homes. 

Threat to Regions in the US

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This isn’t some far-off problem.

The consequences of these fires are directly affecting those living in affected parts of the US where the dangerous, airborne particles are causing hazardous conditions.

New York Air Is Hazardous

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On Wednesday in New York City, the Air Quality Index (AQI) landed at a 138, meaning that the air is unhealthy for sensitive people.

This is incredibly high compared to the AQI during 2017, 2018 and 2019 which never exceeded 50.

Eventually, the AQI even reached “Unhealthy” and “Hazardous” conditions. In other parts of New York state and in some regions in the midwest the AQI was higher still. 

Undeterred

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Funnily enough, New Yorkers on the ground do not seem deterred by the smoke.

Tourists and residents quickly donned the N-95 masks they had obtained during covid and, seemingly, have continued on with daily life. Of course New Yorkers are used to erratic weather being from the North East.

Fortunately for them, these dangerous and disruptive conditions are not expected to last very long. 

Photochemical Smog

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But what forces conspire to form the thick haze that cloaks the affected regions, turning daylight into an opaque, dim apparition?

Other than the particulate matter that makes up the smoke, the culprit is the elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone in the atmosphere. This is an important part of the global, metropolitan issue of photochemical smog (think San Francisco or Beijing).

This should not be confused with atmospheric ozone which is commonly referred to as the ozone layer. Atmospheric ozone is a protective layer of the stratosphere that absorbs and reflects harmful UV radiation back into space.

Significant Health Risks

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Elevated ozone levels contribute to hazy conditions and pose significant health risks.

Young children, individuals with respiratory diseases like asthma, and those engaging in strenuous outdoor activities should limit their exposure during periods when ozone levels are highest—typically in the afternoon to early evening.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or coughing you should go indoors and consult your doctor. . 

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