Different Weather But Similar Air Quality as Last Year - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Different Weather But Similar Air Quality as Last Year

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Storms can be a good thing. Not only do they help out our water supply, but they can also clear our air. While we've seen a lot of sunshine this winter season, the air quality has been very similar to last year. 

Turns out, all the warm weather we've been having is helping out our air quality too. Cold air is very dense, like honey, and warm air is less dense, like water. If you were to first pour honey in a jar, it would sink to the bottom, and then, if you poured water overtop, the water would stay above the honey. This is like our air quality. Cold, dense air pools in the valley and traps the pollution when we have strong inversions. Warm air rises and mixes the air around it, keeping it clean. 

There are a couple of other things helping us out, too. The first being that the center of high pressure has stayed slightly to our west, keeping inversions not quite as strong.

 "So far this season, we've had one red burn code and that was at the end of December," said Daniel Inouye of the Washoe County Air Quality Management. 

Secondly, not as many people burn wood when the weather is warm. It was the second warmest January in Reno after all. Burn code season goes through the end of February. Remember red means no burning is allowed, yellow is cautionary, and green is good. 

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