How Firework Smoke Is Affecting Western New York
After a string of days with worsening air quality, we finally got a break once the wildfire smoke wafted through Western New York.
However, you may have seen a shift in the air quality yet again, except this time it doesn’t appear to be wildfire related.
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The air quality alert early this morning had little to do with the wildfire smoke, and more to do with the fireworks we were in awe of over the weekend.
We asked trusted meteorologist Patrick Hammer from WGRZ what was affecting the air quality on Wednesday morning, and it likely has to do with the fireworks.
“Yes, [the] air quality was not so good this morning,” Hammer said. “Most likely from residual firework smoke. Air quality has since really improved so I don't think it will have too much of an affect on air quality today.”
While the air quality has improved, it is interesting to see that something like fireworks could abruptly shift the air we breathe. Most fireworks may only light up the night a few seconds at a time, but the residual smoke lingers for much longer.
According to the New York Times, “fireworks can cause a spike in a form of air pollution called particulate matter.” That particulate matter is actually the same type of pollution that comes from wildfire smoke.
On July 4 and 5, fine particulate matter levels across the country typically rise by 42 percent on average, according to a study published in 2015 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
WGRZ Meteorologist Patrick Hammer confirmed these findings with his own theory based on his observations.
“It kind of makes sense because air quality was decent across all of Western New York this morning, except right over Buffalo,” Hammer said. “A breeze has picked up and air quality [is] now much better.”
If you plan on buying any more fireworks, you may be able to get a discount since it’s the day after Independence Day. However, New York State only allows for the sale of them at various locations and those familiar "pop up" tents up until July 5.