Post #614: The sky is blue

Posted on April 8, 2020


White Clouds in Blue Sky ca. 1996


No, really.  Stick with me here.  What I mean is, have you noticed that the sky is unnaturally blue.

This is Virginia, for crying out loud.  The spring/summer sky should be, at best, pale blue, edging toward fish-belly white.  But day after day, it’s like we’re living at high altitude in the Rockies.  Perfect beautiful blue sky.

Did you know that if we shut down all industrial activity and fossil-fuel use, the impact would be to raise the earth’s temperature significantly?  In the short run.  And only in the short run.  True fact.  That’s because we release both C02 and particulates/aerosols.  C02 warms the earth, but aerosols cool it.  The C02 is very stable, remains in the air for a enormously long time.  Most particulates and aerosols would rain out/fall out in a matter of weeks to months.

Basically, the longer the shutdown, the better the sky should look.

But apparently this is perception of better air in the DC area is purely in my head.  Because empirically, somehow, the air quality index for DC is … no different than it normally is.  Per this web page.

So I’m a little perplexed.  You’d think, from the traffic reduction alone, you’d see better air quality.  But … no.  I think I’ll keep looking around to see if anyone can explain this.  Or maybe the Air Quality Index doesn’t quite measure what I think it measures.