Utah inversions occur in our valleys when cold air near the ground gets trapped by warmer air in the upper atmosphere, acting as a lid to trap in small particulate matter air pollutants known as PM 2.5 (microscopic particles with a diameter of up to 2.5 micrometers).
The three sources of PM 2.5 in Utah are:
- Point sources (13 percent of a typical inversion) are large stationary industrial or commercial facilities.
- Mobile sources (48 percent of a typical inversion) are non-stationary sources such as vehicles, trains and aircraft.
- Area sources (39 percent of a typical inversion) are smaller stationary sources. These include emissions from home heating, smoke from wood burning, and emissions from small businesses like restaurants and dry cleaners.
That means we Utahns play a large role in creating air pollution with our daily habits, but it also means we can do a lot to improve air quality.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Stop idling. Did you know you can save emissions by turning off your car for just ten seconds? Learn more tips to reduce your idling here.
- Report smoking vehicles. The Utah Department of Health asks community members to report any vehicle that is emitting smoke to the local county health department. All counties in non-attainment areas have smoking vehicle reporting systems. Find your county’s call in and web reporting info here.
- Get a great deal on a Nissan Leaf. Utah Clean Energy and Rocky Mountain Power have teamed up once again to offer a $3,000 rebate on your purchase of a Nissan Leaf before the end of the year. Learn more here. Or consider switching to any other new or used electric vehicle to save 51-53% of total lifecycle emissions over gas-powered vehicles.
- Take the Clean Air Challenge. Mark your calendars – the Clean Air Challenge is coming up in February! Register here today, and spread the word to your family, business, friends or colleagues to ask them to do it with you!
Check out more tips and ideas in last week’s post, “The inversion is here – reduce its impact“. And stay tuned for ways to impact upcoming clean air legislation during the 2019 State Legislative Session