Feb 17, 2012
PM10 Particulates (very fine particulates that are deeply inhaled in the lung) have exceeded the National Environmental Pollution Measure guideline for the past 3 days in the Perth Metropolitan area.
24 hour average concentrations are ranging from 60-70 µg/m3, 3 - 6 times the typical concentrations in Perth. For comparison, the average particulate concentrations for Beijing in 2011 were 110 µg/m3 (BBC News China, Jan 2012).
The particulates originate from a bushfire south of Northcliffe will continue to drift north-west and north along the Swan Coastal Plain and the Darling Scarp as far as Geraldton over the next few days.
The bushfire started last Thursday (9 Feb) as a result of lightning strikes. Southerly winds are pushing smoke from the fire over the South West and northwards.
The smoke is being trapped under an inversion that acts as a ‘blanket’ keeping it relatively closer to the ground. This inversion prevents the smoke dispersing until temperatures rise and ‘punch a hole’ in the inversion layer and the surrounding atmosphere becomes more unstable. [Source – Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia]
Health warnings have been issued for people with respiratory ailments or breathing difficulties.
People with health problems are urged to stay indoors.