18 November 2006

A (cough) Clear and (cough) Present Danger

Welcome to sunny, balmy, Phoenix where the current temperature is 82 degrees. While it is snowing in the east, and raining in the Pacific northwest, it is warm here -- too warm.

But before you pack your bags and head to the airport for a little of that warmth, please remember one thing: the air pollution is really bad today. In fact, we are under a high pollution advisory for the second day in a row.

Yes, this silver lining has a cloud -- a brown cloud of noxious fumes, exhaust, dust and lots of other stuff unhealthy to breathe.

It's unfortunate that this is not unusual. Whenever it is cold out, and Phoenix is under a high pressure system, we experience what is known as a cold-air inversion: where the heavier cold air sinks onto the top of our city, holding in place the lighter warm air. The warm air (and the pollution it contains) is trapped -- and so are we.

Please remember this -- and have a little sympathy for we who have no snow to shovel -- when you hear the weathermen and weatherwomen talk about how nice and sunny Phoenix is this time of year.

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