Delaware Air Quality Forecast, Valid Saturday, June 26 (Code Orange – Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups)

Today (Saturday) is Code Orange for ozone and Code Yellow for particulates in both Northern and Southern Delaware.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is also predicted to be Code Orange.

Monday is forecast to improve to Code Yellow–still not good.

(Note that Thursday, June 24, 2010, turned out to be a Code Yellow day, not Code Orange as we predicted.)

Note also, though, that the effects of ozone and particulates add to each other, as do the effects of high temperatures and humidity, while the Air Quality Index system treats ozone and particulates as separate and does not include temperature and humidity at all.

Of course, we all know that air quality in Delaware is often bad.  The question is:  what can we do about it?  It is a complicated question–air quality is influenced by events outside of Delaware, and outside of the United States.  But much can be done at the local and state levels.

At the US Federal level, we are seeing small improvements in the functioning of the US Environmental Protection Agency, after the Bush years when the polluters themselves ran the agency.  These changes will eventually yield improvements in air quality.  In the short run, tightening of air quality standards will cause more violations because it typically takes many years for tightened standards to translate into reduced emissions.

In Delaware, it’s harder to see improvement.  The Air Quality Management section of the DNREC is, in my opinion, somewhat more competent and motivated than the organizations responsible for water quality and solid waste.  But the administration of Governor Jack Markell seems, if anything, even more reactionary and industry-controlled than was former Governor Ruth Ann Minner.  Delaware’s public health bureaucracy seems as inert as ever.

Improvement is possible but leadership is needed…we need to raise the priority of health concerns in decision-making.

Alan Muller.

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State of Delaware Air Quality Forecast for:
Saturday, June 26, 2010

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NORTHERN DELAWARE
(New Castle County including City of Wilmington)

Ozone:  CODE ORANGE (UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS)
Fine Particles (PM2.5): CODE YELLOW (MODERATE)

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SOUTHERN DELAWARE
(Kent and Sussex Counties including City of Dover)

Ozone:  CODE ORANGE (UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS)
Fine Particles (PM2.5): CODE YELLOW (MODERATE)

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Discussion:

Saturday will be an Air Quality Action Day! High temperatures and stagnation into the afternoon will cause ozone concentrations to rise. A full day of sunshine will cause select monitors to reach Code Orange concentrations later in the day. PM concentrations will rise tomorrow as well, due to a smoke plume extending southward into the NE and Ohio River Valley from fires in Canada.  PM is forecast within the moderate range.

Sunday, temperatures remain in the 90s F as a warm front lifts through the region. Showers are likely in the evening, but will not arrive in time to clean out the air mass. Code Orange concentrations are likely to continue. Monday brings a relief from poor air quality. As a cold front crosses the region, precipitation will lower ozone and PM concentrations to the moderate range.

-Bradbury

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