So we have this little thing called an inversion during the winter here in the Salt Lake valley. Basically what happens is a pocket of cold air gets trapped in the valley and slightly warmer air is sitting on top of it. Now, the only way for the cold air to escape is for a storm to come in and blow it away. But when there are no storms for a couple weeks, we get this gross mixture of water vapor from the lake and pollution that just hangs around, turning the city into a weird post-apocalyptic, asthmatic hack fest. Seriously, I’ve coughed so hard these last few weeks I thought some of my organs ruptured.
As lovely as that sounds, the air here really does get horrible during an inversion. As of Wednesday, we had the worst air quality in the nation and the second worst air quality of any city in the world, only beaten out by Hong Kong. But Huzzah! Thursday brought us a much needed winter storm which cleared the valley out quite nicely and dumped a foot of snow on us (and it’s still coming down heavily!). Now we just get to watch the storm pass and wait for the smog to build up all over again. I’ve provided a nice visual for you below (as you can see, the smog makes everything look horribly under-exposed), as well as some links.
The winners of National Geographic’s 2012 Photo Contest.
Winter doesn’t have to be all smog and terrible. Just look at how happy people are at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in China.
Look at this awesome aerial photo of Central Park by Sergey Semenov.
Photographing your geotagged Tweet locations.
There are supposed to be mountains in this picture.