Ground-level ozone is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency because exposure can make it hard to breathe, increase asthma attacks, and in extreme cases, cause death. Ground-level ozone, which is odorless and colorless, is created by a chemical reaction between pollutants, produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

On high ozone days, the EPA recommends sensitive people stay inside. Thanks to tougher pollution controls, those days are not as common as they used to be. But ozone forms more easily on hot days, so Ping Jing of Loyola University, Chicago says a warming climate could make ozone worse.

Jing: “It is predicted in the Midwest our summers will become increasingly hotter, which means the formation of ozone is going to be more effective.”

So as summers become warmer, high ozone days might become more common. But Jing says we can do something about it.

Jing: “At the individual level, we can start by conserving energy – at home, at work, in commuting. If we can cut our energy use, we would be able to help to slow down climate change at the same time we help to protect our air quality.”

. . . protecting the dog days of summer for everyone to enjoy.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo source: OzoneAware.org website

More Resources
Air Quality Guide for Ozone
State of the Air 2014: Ozone Pollution
Trends in Ozone Adjusted for Weather Conditions

Bridgett Ennis

Bridgett Ennis is co-founder of ChavoBart Digital Media (CBDM), an audio and video production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. CBDM contributes original reporting, audio production,...