Unseasonably warm air in upper levels of the atmosphere and an area of high pressure over the Northeast have trapped air pollution in the New York City metro area. 

The high pressure area is creating minimal winds. Both light winds and above average temperatures are projected through the week for our area.

“High population density in the NYC area results in high levels of emissions of pollutants,” the state Department of Environmental Conservation reported today, “and because atmospheric conditions are not conducive to mixing and diluting the pollutants, the pollution has been building up.”

Air Quality Health Advisory

Because of this pollution build-up, the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Health have issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for the New York City metro area today, Monday, December 7th. The advisory is in effect until midnight.

Levels of Fine Particulate Matter -a leading air pollutant- are projected to exceed state air quality standards in New York City, and Westchester and Rockland counties.

Fine particulate matter consists of tiny solid particles or liquid droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter. Fine particulate matter [also called PM 2.5] often comes from processes that involve combustion (e.g. vehicle exhaust, power plants, and fires) and from chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

Indoor sources of PM 2.5 include tobacco, candle and incense smoke, and fumes from cooking.

People with heart or breathing problems, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to PM 2.5. Exposure can cause short-term health effects such as irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Exposure to elevated levels of fine particulate matter can also worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.