Air quality emergency may not be a one-time episode | Weather or Not with Lee Goldberg

Lee Goldberg Image
Friday, June 9, 2023
Air quality emergency may not be a one-time episode | Weather or Not
Air quality emergency may not be a one-time episode | Weather or Not

NEW YORK (WABC) -- In a special episode of "Weather or Not with Lee Goldberg," we are addressing the crisis of hazardous, smoky air that enveloped New York City and much of the East Coast this week as a result of forest fires raging in Canada.

This event of unprecedented severity for our area sent airborne pollution to dangerous levels and ominously turned the skies orange for a time over Manhattan and much of the area.

Even as the skies clear and the Air Quality Index improves, we are confronted with so many questions: Was this a one-time thing? Will the smoke from these still-raging Canadian fires be back? And what is driving these fires and the smoke in our skies, hundreds of miles away? How is our warming planet playing a role in all of this?

Lee explains how this specific event was driven by a very persistent weather pattern that has kept northerly winds pumping into our region. This has been coupled with abnormally dry heat in Canada that set the stage for massive forest fires, with the smoke funneled south thanks to that weather pattern.

But as Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Columbia University explains, these blocking patterns and the heat and dryness in the normally moist forests of Canada bear the hallmarks of climate change.

Horton helps us understand why exactly this is happening, and how climate change also poses threats on other fronts, from rising sea levels and powerful rain events to prolonged heat waves.

But while the long-term outlook appears grim and can induce despair, Horton shared key reasons for optimism in the fight against climate change, everything from societal change to advances in technology that could make a difference.

You can watch the complete episode of "Weather or Not with Lee Goldberg" in the player on this page, but to enjoy an even better viewing experience, and binge earlier episodes, we invite you to watch on our streaming app, available on whatever device you use to stream. Just search for ABC 7 New York in your preferred app store.


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