Air quality is expected to diminish tonight as a temperature inversion intensifies, but improve by midday Tuesday when scattered clouds roll in, according to the Fairbanks North Star Borough air quality office and the National Weather Service.
A Stage 2 air quality alert is in effect in North Pole since about 11 a.m., according to Ron Lovell, manager of air quality for the borough.
That means only wood and coal stoves that are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are allowed to operate. Owners of outdated stoves should use an alternate heat source or seek an exemption from the rules, Lovell said.
“We are fairly confident we are going to have a fairly strong inversion tonight,” he said.
Lovell said he doesn’t expect air pollution levels to cause the borough to call a Stage 3 alert, which is a ban on all solid fuel heating devices or stoves that burn wood, coal and pellets.
The weather occurrence causing the expected pollution spike is known as a temperature inversion, which is when a mass of warm air sits atop a mass of colder air, trapping pollutants.
The pollution is expected to begin dispersing by morning, according to the National Weather Service.
“When the clouds come in, that pretty much raises the temperature at the surface and the inversion breaks,” weather service lead forecaster Bob Fischer said.
A Stage 1 alert is in place in Fairbanks. Residents are asked to voluntarily refrain from using solid fuel burning devices.