A few years ago GEM started looking at threats to our air quality and learned the State Department of Air Quality (DAQ) knew nothing of Ogden Valley air quality, nor did they have plans for monitoring or studying it. In GEM discussions air quality kept coming up, so in 2018 Richard Menzies and Kim Wheatley developed some ideas and implemented them. Here is a link to their Valley News article published in the spring of 2018 and following is where the the project now stands.
“Purple Air Monitors” are now in place at key locations throughout the Valley. This network of monitors is now reporting particulate 2.5 readings (the harmful small particulates) every 15 minutes to the web. Now everyone can see actual nearby air quality in real time with a single click to the Purple Air Map. So far we have learned our wonderful air goes downhill at the same time inversions and orange/red pollution days are happening on the Wasatch front.
Ken Beck is adding his expertise by developing software to extract Ogden Valley raw data from the Purple Air database. Ken’s intention is to nicely package Ogden Valley air quality data for to hand off to various research groups (as well as satisfying his own curiosity). Richard Menzies has developed a relationship with WSU faculty whereby Ken’s air quality data extractions will feed into student and faculty research. In a few years we should have a much better understanding how air quality in the Valley works.
If you decide to put a Purple Air Monitor on your house, please let us know so we can add you to the club.
Here is some more…for the nerdy among us.
The National Weather Service publishes current information about weather conditions that influence our air quality “The Clearing Index is an Air Quality/Smoke Dispersal Index used to regulate open burning and as input for other air quality decisions throughout Utah. The Clearing Index is defined as the Mixing Depth (depth of the mixed layer in 100s of feet above ground level) multiplied by the Transport Wind (average wind in the mixed layer in knots). Clearing Index values below 500 are considered poor ventilation and open burning is restricted under these conditions. Any Clearing Index values above 1000 are considered excellent ventilation and are referred to as 1000+. Data for the Clearing Index on these web pages..”
On their pages they have our Valley is basin: AQB3 – Mountain Valleys above 6500′ ASI. However, they also lump us in with the Wasatch Front side of Weber County into Air shed #5; Morgan County is also in Air shed #5. Look on the Clearing Index by Air shed tab to see how this all works: the table shows the Clearing Index (CI) for today and the two-day forecast. Readings below 500 mean pollution will be accumulating rapidly in the Valley and readings above 1000 mean pollution will blow out. The next column is the “Mixed Layer Depth” (MH), an atmospheric condition that tends to trap particulates in air sheds when at lower elevation and releasing them at higher elevations, then combined with wind speeds. In a nutshell, low winds and low ceiling means rapid buildup of pollutants.