Smog Over Provo, Utah

October 16, 2000


Provided by: Jim Foster, NASA/GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

This photograph was taken from Squall Mountain in the Wasatch Mountain Range, between Salt Lake City and Provo - the view is toward the south. The city of Provo and Utah Lake can be seen in the background, beneath a layer of smog. Though the weather is often beautiful in Utah at this time of year, smoke and pollution build-up can be a problem, especially when the weather is fair for several days in succession. High pressure systems which bring sunny, calm weather to much of the nation in October, can remain nearly stationary for a number of days. Air moving downward, which is typical under high pressure conditions, becomes very stable and acts as a lid, and as a result, smoke and pollution from automobiles and industry are not easily dispersed. Not only are some nice views spoiled, but breathing may become a bit more labored, and air advisories often need to be posted when these conditions persist. Pollution may be a problem on weekends as well as weekdays - this photograph was taken on a Saturday afternoon. The mountains that flank Salt Lake City and Provo excerbate the smog by not allowing the dirty air to move away laterally. This is also the case in Los Angeles and Denver.

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