From November 2016 to February 2017—the seventh wettest winter on the books since 1946—air pollution exceeded federal standards for particulate matter for just 7 days, says KPCC.
Compare that to the same time period in 2014 to 2015—the most dire winter period of the years-long drought—when, the amount of particulate matter in the air exceeded federal standards for 35 days. That’s a one-fifth reduction in the number of bad air days.
Particulate matter can cause asthma and infections and can increase the risk of lung cancer over a long period of exposure.
“We can’t depend on the weather to improve air quality, of course, but that said, from one year to the next weather plays a very major factor in the air quality,” a spokesperson for the South Coast Air Quality Management District told KPCC.
Winter is usually “particulate matter season,” as fog can help particulates to form. There’s also the additional pollution that comes from wood-burning stoves. This past winter, the SCAQMD called for eight no-burn days from November 2016 to this February. In 2014 to 2015, they issued 25 no-burn alerts.