The Summer Surprise — Smoke — And It Isn’t Over Yet
Author: Greg Valliere
June 30, 2023
WASHINGTON DC HAD THE WORST AIR QUALITY in the world yesterday, stinging eyes and keeping people indoors. California residents are used to this during the wildfire season, but it came as a shock in the mid-Atlantic, now under a Code Red warning. The jet stream, which largely controls the weather, is pumping smoke into the U.S. as northwest winds from Canada persist. Global warming clearly has worsened this problem.
CLIMATE EXPERTS SAID YESTERDAY that the acrid air could persist for many weeks, as fires burn out of control in Canada, mostly in Quebec Province. Firefighters apparently are content to let most of the blazes burn themselves out, which could take weeks as Canada grapples with the worst air crisis in its recorded history, with air quality worse than in Beijing. There are 476 active fires in Canada; 234 are deemed as out of control.
ABOUT 31,000 SQUARE MILES already have been torched in Canada this year, an area larger than South Carolina. Much of Canada has suffered from extreme drought, which probably will produce more fires and smoke. The next
target could be New England after the Fourth of July, experts say. Smoke from the fires has drifted thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean and is damaging air quality in Portugal, France, Ireland and other parts of Europe.
THOSE TRAPPED IN THE EAST — especially people with asthma — are anxious to flee, but American airports have been paralyzed — not entirely because of smoke and thunderstorms, but because of the airlines’ computer glitches and an acute shorgage of air traffic controlers. Waves of flight cancellations are likely, perhaps becoming a drag on the overall economy.
WHO GETS THE BLAME? The airline industry and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have to answer for their failure to anticipate computer and personnel problems. Buttigieg surely must wonder why he took the job; he has endured withering criticism. But there’s little that he can do.
BUTTIGIEG WILL HAVE TO SWEAT OUT flight delays through Labor Day, with no easy answers. There’s no solution for the invasion of smoke, which may persist for many weeks. Meanwhile, it’s infuriating to hear some politicians — many in Texas who proclaim that they have created a Promised Land — who say climate change is a hoax. The evidence of a severe crisis is clear to see, if you can see through the haze of smoke.
Happy Fourth of July !! Happy Canada Day !!
We’ll be out on Monday and Tuesday, back on Wednesday
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