I didn’t know this until I checked the city website this morning, but the advisory for 光化学スモッグ(Kou kagaku smog), or photochemical oxidase smog (photochemical smog, urban ozone, Los Angels type smog…, I really don’t know what is the correct or the most commonly used term for it) was issued for southern Ibaraki area at 15:20pm and was canceled at 17:20pm yesterday. People are encouraged to stay indoor while this advisory(注意報/chuuihou) or warning(alert or warning/keihou) is in effect.
Please go to the city’s Environment Division’s page(Japanese) to check for smog information:http://cms.city.tsukuba.ibaraki.jp/040900/
Or go to Ibaraki Prefecture’s air pollution monitoring information page(Japanese) for more precise information:
I don’t have any background in science(in fact, anything “scientific” makes my brain cells gasp for air), so please bear with me while I attempt to translate the information from the Ibaraki Prefecture’s website.
Photochemical oxidase smog prediction(予報/yohou) will be issued when:
- Hourly concentration of photochemical oxidant is expected to be over 0.12ppm,
Photochemical oxidase smog advisory(注意報) will be issued when:
- Hourly concentration of photochemical oxidant is expected to be over 0.12ppm, and when the concentration is expected to remain high due to the weather condition
Photochemical oxidase smog alert(警報/keihou) will be issued when:
- Hourly concentration of photochemical oxidant is expected to be over 0.24ppm, and when the concentration is expected to remain high due to the weather condition
Photochemical oxidase smog “acute” alert(重大警報/juudai keihou) will be issued when:
- Hourly concentration of photochemical oxidant is expected to be over 0.4ppm, and when the concentration is expected to remain high due to the weather condition
If you work or live in Tokyo, or visit Tokyo often, you might be interested in signing up for this service:
The air pollution prediction/advisory/warning in Tokyo will be sent to your computer or cellphone. Unfortunately, this is also all in Japanese.
The sign-up page is here: http://www.kankyo.metro.tokyo.jp/kinkyu/regist.html
Please note that the registration for this service will be automatically cleared at the end of every fiscal year (the end of March), so you’ll need to register your e-mail address again in April.
Another very good site is “そらまめ君/Soramam-kun” or Atmospheric Environmental Regional Observation System.
You can pick the area you want to check the air pollution or weather from their main page like this:
and, hallelujah!, there are chemical symbols and English abbreviations on the upper left corner of their website! You can see a particular air pollution type by clicking those buttons.
If you have very sensitive skin, eyes or throat for example, you may have very irritated skin/eyes/throat. In severe cases, some people even develop breathing trouble, severe headache, numbness in limbs, emesis, and disturbance of consciousness when the photochemical smog occurs.
In fact, one of my co-workers who has very sensitive eyes left work early to visit a doctor yesterday. My eyes were also irritated so bad that I was using eye drops all afternoon. I didn’t know about the advisory for the smog, so I thought I was just tired or stared at my computer too long(!).
This smog warning is like the ozone alert, and I really think people should try to stay indoor while the advisory or warning is in effect. Did you know that the public schools do shut their windows and doors when the advisory or warning is issued no matter how hot the weather is? Please be careful when you go outside, especially if you take your small children out for a stroll. If they start to whine, it’s possible that something other than the heat might be bothering them!