Tahoe Nugget #45:
Reno Nevada: Canary in a Coal Mine?
Americans have moved west for a perceived notion of health and quality of life for generations. In the 19th century, most people, including physicians, believed that the West (specifically California) was free of
major disease. Oh, say it ain't so Joe.
The Pacific Coast in general is a magical place, and relatively healthful, Here's the deal. About 1% of the planet's landmass is located in a
"Mediterranean" climate zone. Mild winters and generally warm, dry summers make for a pretty good existence. In California, the true Mediterranean climate area is along the California coast south of San
Francisco. The other areas are South Africa, southern Chile, southeastern Australia, and the Mediterranean region itself.
As time goes on, it should be something to reconsider, or at the very least, take
into serious consideration location and microclimate zones when buying into "quality of life" out west. My academic student advisor and mentor John James, a geography professor at the University of Nevada
-Reno, lived in a house above Reno that was at an elevation high enough to exceed the worst of the inversion. He is a jogger and pretty athletic for a guy in his mid-70s. He didn't want to breathe contaminated
air. Who can blame him!
Not only is the bad air over Reno depicted in this photograph ugly, it is a growing issue in the Great Basin at large and in the valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin of
California. Consisting mostly of suspended particulates and water vapor, it's not the picture advertisers want to sell. Fact is, it mostly occurs during the lull between winter storms, when the humidity level is
high, the sun angle is low, and the westerlies (wind) are non-existent.