Why are there pollution spikes in the hottest months?

High temperatures foster air pollutant concentrations, aggravating air pollution and its effects on human health
Why are there pollution spikes in the hottest months?
Mexico City skyline – Photo: Francisco Cañedo/Xinhua
Mexico City
-A +A

Although air pollution is, for the most part, the result of human activity, air pollutant concentrations aren't frequent and they depend on several factors.

Some pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) are produced by vehicles, power stations, and other object containing combustion engines, such as heavy equipment.

Ozone is the result of chemical reactions in the atmosphere, and the one found in the troposphere (lower atmosphere) is the kind which affects human health the most as these reactions come from two main types of air pollutants: volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides.

The heat produced by the increase of temperature causes chemical reactions to accelerate, that is, there is a higher concentration of ozone during the Spring and Summer seasons. AnSimilarly, pollutant concentration increases under these same conditions.

Air pollution and global warming interact with one another, mutually aggravating their corresponding negative effects; that is, high temperatures cause pollutant concentration spikes but air pollution also leads to higher temperatures. Therefore, climate change and air pollution need to be addressed jointly rather than separately.

It's Ozone Season in Mexico City, which means it's the time of the year in which ozone concentration increases.

For more information on air quality in Mexico City, please check the Spanish website here.


Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal