Why The Sydney Smoke Haze Is Worse Than Ever Before
No, you're not imagining it. The smoke has been especially bad this fire season.
The one question people have is why is the smoke haze in Sydney particularly bad this year. Turns out it's due to four things.
"We are coming off the back of the driest Australian spring on record and those records go back 120 years," 10's weather expert Josh Holt told 10 daily.
"It has been very dry and there has been plenty of dust."
There were still 119 bush and grass fires burning across NSW on Tuesday and 48 of these were uncontained. The smoke haze in Sydney in 2019 has been particularly bad.
Lack of rain is another factor that has contributed, especially to the longevity of the blazes which adds to the smoke strangling the city.
"There hasn't been any rainfall to dampen the fires at all, so they have been continuously burning, so you get smoke produced every single day," Holt said.
A third factor is dry weather when combined strong winds and hundreds of fires.
"That's a lot of smoke and all you need is the wind direction to push that towards the coast. The heat prolongs the dry period of fire and smoke," Holt said.
The final factor is a weather event called a temperature inversion, where warm air sits on top of cooler air in the atmosphere.
"Basically, the warm air doesn't allow the cool air to escape through the atmosphere. This means that the air, the dust particles and the smoke will get trapped and linger for a few days."
"So, you have all the attributes to call it a prolonged weather event."
The state government says air quality on Tuesday will be "poor due to particles" from the extensive smoke coming from bushfires burning across the state.
Air quality reached hazardous levels in parts of south-western Sydney on Monday evening and was recorded as poor in parts of the city's east.
A temperature inversion could trap smoke in the Sydney basin on Tuesday, the NSW Rural Fire Service said on Monday evening.
"Smoke levels are expected to be similar if not worse than experienced over recent mornings," the NSWRFS said in a statement.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts strong winds will push smoke across the Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle regions until Thursday.
"Air quality may start to improve at the end of the week as onshore winds develop, particularly near the coast," BoM said in a tweet on Tuesday.
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