Air Quality Update: We Were Roasting!
We Were Roasting!
Summer 2016 Breaking Heat Records but Not Pollution
The summer of 2016 was the third hottest summer on record in the D.C. Metro area since record keeping began in 1871. And according to the National Weather Service, the Washington region also experienced the second-hottest August on record with 23 days of 90-degree or greater weather.
Just a few years ago, our lungs would have been toast.
While the heat may have been killing us this summer, the air quality was not.
Despite the record heat, for the third year in a row not one Code Red Day (unhealthy for all) reading for ozone or particulate matter was registered and there were only seven Code Orange Days (unhealthy for persons with respiratory problems, seniors and children) readings.
While the region has added millions of people, vehicles and miles of daily travel over the past decade, its air quality has continued to improve due primarily to technological advancements (cleaner fuel and engines, utility plant conversions, etc.).
This is cause for celebration, but not complacency. On exceptionally hot days we still need to limit driving, refueling, lawn mowing, cooking outdoors with charcoal, etc. But —