The Washington Post interviewed Dan Jaffe for a recent article about the benefits of air purifiers against airborne particles such as those from coronavirus and also wildfires. The article offers advice on what to look for in an air purifier and how to use one. Their advice in a nutshell: use HEPA filters, fit the purifier to the space, set it up correctly, and use the purifier in the rooms where people are. And one more thing—there is an option that is cheaper than spending $200–1000 for a purifier! At the end of the article, they cite the Jaffe Group’s research into using a standard box fan with an attached MERV-13 furnace filter to clean particulate matter from the air. Making a simple air purifier is an easy project you can do at home. The article also mentions that wearing masks is important.
Congratulations to Dan Jaffe on his election to the Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS)! Jaffe was elected by members of the WSAS and recognized “for leadership in monitoring and understanding the global transport of atmospheric pollutants from energy production, wildfire, and other sources, as well as science communication and service that has informed citizens and enhanced public policy.” Jaffe has been at UW Bothell since 1997 and is also a professor at UW Seattle in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. His research focuses on atmospheric chemistry, ozone photochemistry, wildfire smoke, and the long-range transport of pollutants. He has operated the Mt. Bachelor Observatory research station in Bend, Oregon, since 2004.
New members to the WSAS were chosen for “their outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement, and their willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington,” according to the WSAS press release.
The WSAS is a not-for-profit organization that provides expert scientific and technical information to inform issues and public policy making in the state of Washington. It was established in 2005 and currently has over 300 elected members, all residing in Washington State.
Last summer was a smoke-filled one in Washington State. Will this summer be similar? Well, the drought conditions in Washington State have led to forests and grasslands filled with wildfire fuel. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, now is the time to prepare for the possibility of a smoky summer. Dan Jaffe was interviewed by KUOW recently and advised residents to get prepared. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to actually do a pretty good job of protecting your indoor air quality.” You can make a simple smoke filter for your home with a box fan and a furnace filter.
A new paper by group members Dr. Nate May, Clara Dixon, and Dr. Dan Jaffe evaluates the effectiveness of low-cost air filter units during wildfire smoke events. The increased wildland fire activity in the western US in recent years produces high concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which negatively affects the health of millions of people. During wildfire smoke events, staying indoors is often recommended. However, how good is indoor air quality during smoke events? The authors looked at PM2.5 measurements from the PurpleAir sensor network, a publicly available network of low-cost air quality sensors located indoors and outdoors. They also analyzed the effectiveness of residential filter units in reducing indoor PM2.5. One low-cost DIY filtration method consists of attaching a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value-13 (MERV-13) fan filter to a standard box fan. This method was found to be highly effective at reducing indoor PM2.5 when recirculating air in a single room.
A new article on the University of Washington website looks at the growing severity of wildfires and the broad research that the university is doing on their impacts. The article highlights the work that we do on wildfires’ effects on air quality. Also featured is the Joel Thornton lab at UW Seattle and the work of other UW researchers who study wildfires and forests.
In the summer of 2019, UW photographer Mark Stone visited Mt. Bachelor Observatory, as well as other research sites, and captured the UW’s research in stunning photographs.