Inversion: When Did I Move to LA?

Excuse me for a minute as I cough. You see my lungs are clogged with smog these days. I live in a valley, which in effect constitutes a big weather “bowl” because of the mountains surrounding us. Most of the year I look up at the mountains and smile with their beauty and grandeur. Right now I am more wishing for a nice wide valley that would funnel out the thick soup of smog along with the cold temperatures.

Remember me mentioning a while back that it is was cold? Yup, cold temps are still here. Yeah, it’s winter so I should expect some cold, but what we are experiencing in these neck of the woods right now is artificially colder because of this inversion. If you have never lived where the effect takes place, you likely don’t know what it is. Here is the short version. A temperature inversion is an atmospheric condition where the temperature increases with height (or elevation). The warm air above traps the colder air below. Along with the colder air, the pollutants are not able to escape. The valleys of northern Utah are especially susceptible to this because it is surrounded by particularly tall mountains compared to the valley floor.

Here’s a great shot recently captured by a Salt Lake City amateur photographer that shows you exactly what I mean about the smog. Even though it is a clear day, the layer of smog (and cold temperature) is stuck right where we all live. Wonderful, eh?

Nothing like the feeling of sucking on the tailpipe of my truck with every breath. See the nice shade of brown throughout that cloud of particulates? Mmmm, can’t you just taste it. Yes, this is the time of year when I could see living somewhere else. Not winter mind you, that I can enjoy, just a few weeks of inversion we normally get – which this year has been for a couple of months. Yuck.