Scientists find that Utah's bad air is connected to the arctic
Climate researchers at Utah State University have found that a connection exists between an atmospheric pattern know as the Arctic Oscillation and Utah's bad air days. The phase and strength of the Arctic Oscillation influences the development of high pressure over the Western U.S. and, consequently, the intensity and persistence of inversions which trap urban pollution near the surface.
Data from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center was analyzed; particularly the values of the Arctic Oscillation Index over the period of October 2009 through February 2010, and model projections for the development of high pressure over Utah for the period of November 2009 through March 2010.
The Arctic Oscillation has been in a strong negative phase this season, thus promoting an enhancement of high pressure systems over the Western U.S. This oscillation is found to exhibit a repeating pattern about every 30 days. Model projections for high pressure development suggest another period of inversions in mid-February over Utah, indicating that we are entering another negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation.
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