‘Tis the Season for Inversions

If you live in a valley community then you’ll likely experience inversions this winter. The severity of inversions varies depending on how long the weather stays stagnant and what activities occur during that time. Nonetheless, the more pollution we all create, the more pollution gets trapped during inversions, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to reduce air pollution during inversions.

Inversions are naturally-occurring weather events where a layer of warm air high above the ground surface acts as a lid or trap, holding cold air closer to the ground and preventing any sort of circulation. Inversions themselves aren’t bad, but the stagnant air traps pollution from vehicle exhaust and burning wood, creating a serious public health concern.

How To Help

  • Drive less. Vehicle exhaust is a major contributor of air pollutants during inversions.
  • Take public transit or carpool. We all still need to get around, but consider using public transit or coordinating a carpool with family and friends.
  • Be careful with when and what you burn. Limit the amount of wood burning you do, unless it’s your primary source of heat. Only burn clean, dry wood and follow all air quality advisories.
  • Telework. Many people commute to work, but could you work from home or another space within a walkable distance? If you’re unsure, work with your employer to create a telework policy at your workplace.

Interested In Protecting Air Quality?

ICL’s work on inversions is part of our larger efforts on climate change and to protect the air we all breathe. We work on inversions, air pollution from transportation, and wildfire smoke – and we could use your help! ICL, in partnership with PurpleAir, is working on a pilot project to install low-cost air monitors in Canyon County, Idaho. If you or someone you know would be interested in hosting a monitor, contact Austin Walkins for more information.