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Brown Snow?

April 30th, 2012

Air Quality – do you think about  that? Mostly I don’t – until I heard about the brown snow that a former classmate reported this winter. Brown snow? WHAT? Turns out, the snow captured particles of a dust storm from Kansas, the jetstream carried it to Michigan’s UP and dropped it neatly frozen in a February 2012 snow. There have been reports of colored snow around the world for years and it contains different things including industrial pollutants, volcanic ash, radiation, and even algae.

I found this really cool website that reports the AQI Air Quality Index http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state  It measures ozone and particulates in the air and ranks the health risk. I watched the map of the midwest and then Colorado and Florida and various other places across the US.  It was  a good air day in most places but a few had “Action Day” notices meaning they anticipated the air quality was moving into the unhealthy range soon.

Ok, so what am I doing today that could show up in someone else’s backyard?  The wood smoke from the camp fire, the exhaust from my car, my personal care products, the vapors from my carpet, flooring, paint, mower, etc.  Check out Air Quality Awarenes Week resources at http://www.epa.gov/airnow/airaware/ 

I will breath easier tonight knowing that my friends in Kansas are paying attention to their actions! What do you do that affects air quality?

Kristi Cooper

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