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Air Pollution Bad in Western States

Newswise - Everyone talks about California smog, but it's the air in the Western states in the US that is getting bad. One reason is that so many people drive heavily polluting vehicles, while California has strict emissions laws. By mid-century, the EPA says air quality in the West will deteriorate.

Computer modeling by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory predicts that future climate change on U.S. regional air quality, and they will be most dramatic in the West. By fall 2050, the model shows, a temperature increase will contribute to a doubling of stagnant, bad-air days?from one week to two?west of the Rockies to the coastal mountains.

The stagnation forecast in the West is limited to the fall, with no additional drop in air quality forecast for the summer, a finding similar to most other regions of the country. Bad air days are marked by "stagnation events," which occur when dry, windless air heats up and fills with dust, ozone and other pollutants that are harmful to lungs and eyes.

In contrast, the computer predicts increased cloud cover for the Midwest, which will deflect the sun?s rays back toward space. The weather there may be even cooler in the future than it is today.

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