Summer heat has finally arrived in Kansas City with highs in the mid-to-upper 90s this week and plenty of sunshine to go along with it. When we talk about Ozone Alerts, we talk about the ingredients that lead to high ozone days — heat and sunlight are two big factors — so why haven’t we seen Ozone Alerts this week?
One factor is wind speed. The breezes we’ve had over the past few days have been just enough to keep us solidly in the Yellow Skycast range. Another factor is the pollution blown in from upwind areas. Cities to our south and west aren’t building up high ozone concentrations either, so we’re not seeing a lot of ozone transported our way.
We’re certainly keeping an eye on all of these pieces of the ozone puzzle. If we think there’s cause to issue an Ozone Alert, you can find that information on Twitter or Facebook, via email or from the many media outlets in the Kansas City region that recognize how important sharing air quality information is to their readers, listeners and viewers.
Just as a refresher, the Skycast chart below explains what the colors mean. We normally see lots of yellow days during the summer, but we don’t issue an Ozone Alert until the levels are anticipated to be in the Orange range or higher. So far this year we’ve only issued one Orange Skycast, which — especially when compared to last summer — is incredibly quiet. By this time in 2012 we’d issued more than 30 Ozone Alerts. Kansas City is no stranger to late season spikes in ozone levels, though. In 2011 we issued Ozone Alerts as late as Oct. 5. Even though we are getting to the end of what’s normally seen as the busy time for ozone formation, we’re not out of the woods quite yet.