Feb 15, 2024 - News

😷 Chart du jour: Worsening air quality

Estimated days with unhealthy air quality, 2024
Data: First Street Foundation; Note: Maximum count of days with unhealthy air quality from anywhere within each county; Map: Axios Visuals

Air quality in Utah is set to decline in the next three decades due to an increase in prolonged wildfire seasons in the West, heat waves and drought, according to a recent report.

Zoom in: New research from the nonprofit First Street Foundation is part of a hyperlocal air quality model showing shifts down to the property level between 2024 and 2054, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • Its conclusions flow from methods contained in three peer-reviewed studies published by the coauthors. The report itself is not peer reviewed, however.

What it found: The study finds that climate change is increasing the prevalence of two of the air pollutants most harmful to human health: particulate matter, commonly referred to as PM2.5, and tropospheric ozone.

  • PM2.5 are tiny particles emitted by vehicles, power plants, wildfires and other sources. They can get lodged in people's lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing or exacerbating numerous health problems.

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