Cold winter, lower pollution levels in Aspen |

Cold winter, lower pollution levels in Aspen

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen’s February PM-10 particulate air pollution levels this year were the lowest for the month in at least a decade, thanks to reduced traffic and frequent snowfall, city officials said.

It snowed 16 out of 28 days in February, keeping the air clean and the streets snow-covered. Levels were higher than in January, when there was even more snow to cover the dirt on roads.

PM-10 levels were lowest on weekends when traffic is almost always lower, and higher on weekdays. The average level was 11 millionths of a gram of PM-10 in each cubic meter of air. The federal health standard is 150 millionths of a gram, though much lower levels are now known to possibly affect health. The worst day in February had a level of 22.

It was one of the coldest Februarys in Aspen in the last 19 years, though the overnight low temperatures, as well as daily highs, were still warmer than the historic averages for February. There were two below-zero nights, which is exactly average for February. The amount of snow on the ground by the end of February was just slightly above the average of recent years. Two-thirds of the continental U.S. had a colder-than-average winter this year.

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