A new study shows that by 2050 California could experience a significant increase in the number of days with unhealthy ozone levels.
Climate change is expected to cause more heat waves nationwide. The study finds those heat waves could cause a 70 to 100 percent increase in ozone episodes, a period of time when ozone concentrations exceed thresholds set to protect human health.
California – along with the Southwest and Northeast - would be the most affected. Each could experience up to nine additional days of dangerous ozone levels. The rest of the country would experience an average increase of 2 days.
Short-term exposure to ozone could lead to respiratory illness, especially for children, seniors and people with asthma. The study’s authors say ambitious emission controls are needed to offset the potential of more than a week of unhealthy air. The study is published Thursday in the journal, Geophysical Research Letters.