Eric Betterton, University Distinguished Professor and HAS Department Head, recently spoke with Arizona Public Media's Arizona 360 host and producer Lorraine Rivera about summer's effect on air quality in Southern Arizona.
Betterton, who also chairs the Pima County Environmental Quality Advisory Council, explained how excess heat can affect the air we breathe by impacting the risk for wildfires and causing urban ozone levels to concentrate. "Last year in 2018 we exceeded the ozone standard for the first time in our history, so that should put us on alert. The reason we did is partly because the standards have been tightened and also partly due to the fact that it's getting more and more difficult to control the ozone concentration," he said.
Heat does increase ozone concentration. Other mitigating factors--increased vehicular traffic, increased use of air conditioning, more wildfires, and even accelerated plant growth during monsoon season--all affect our air quality. Learn more on this episode of Arizona 360.