Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

(Arizona Mirror) Kathy Jacobs says she’s worried about the number of hot days Arizona is seeing, and specifically how it is impacting our air and her kids.

“The number of hot days, whether I have to worry about whether I can put my kids out to play or not is scary,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs, who heads up the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona, said that the record-breaking heat the state and the world has been experiencing has an impact on air quality that often goes unnoticed.

Climate change means that some areas of the world are experiencing more heat, leading to more dangerous wildfires and more days of 100 degree temperatures or more. Add on that metropolitan cities like Phoenix are growing at a fast rate, and you get what Jacobs calls the “double whammy.”

The mixture of climate change and human expansion is leading to more days where air quality is dangerous for people with pre-existing health issues, children and the elderly, Jacobs said.

Ozone, or trioxygen, is both a natural and man-made gas that helps protect the Earth from harmful ultraviolet light when it is high up in the atmosphere. But when it is closer to ground level, it contributes to smog and can cause a number of serious health effects.

More From Missoula Current