Forecasting Change: Rising temperatures equal more stagnant air

83% of US has seen increase in number of stagnant days

Clouds in sky (Pixabay)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The heat of the “dog days of summer” is upon us. This last week has been typical with rain breaking out in the afternoon. But the daytime highs have been hard to handle. The next few days, the rain chances are taking a dip and the heat is really going to set in. Some areas will get close to 100 degrees again in the next few days.

All that heat brings in stagnant air, or stagnation. Stagnation is when hot, still, dry weather leads to a build-up of pollutants in the air we breathe. Since 1973, 83% of the U.S. has seen an increase in the number of stagnant days. On average, reporting stations are up by six days.

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The graphic below shows the worst spots. The red zones are worst in parts of California and Texas. In San Francisco they have seen an increase of 32 days. That is more than a full month of stagnation they did not have 50 years ago.

Stagnant air

While Florida is not that bad, the air in Orlando has become more stagnant. This chart shows our increase in higher temperatures equaling more stagnant air has led to more than a week of more stagnant air.

Stagnant summer days

Rising summer temperatures due to climate change will bring more stagnation days and more health risks. According to our media partners and the American Lung Association, 4 out of 10 people in the U.S. live in place with unhealthy level of fine particulate pollution or ozone.

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About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.