Carbon dioxide. That gas of climate change — and vegetation exhalations at night.
I walked into the room where my Aranet4 is sitting, a room I hadn’t been in for 12 hours and only for a few seconds all the previous day (Sunday) and my jaw dropped. 1132ppm carbon dioxide?? What the actual f—‽
This room has an old, leaky window. The air outside was hotter than inside (I didn’t have the AC on). And so outdoor carbon dioxide (CO2) had filled the room, jacking up its CO2 from 450 to a high of 1140 in the space of 24 hours. Why‽
Toronto air quality monitoring stations don’t provide CO2 readings unlike other cities. Or if they do, local AQI ones don’t while city ones keep that data hidden. Who knows which scenario, but it keeps people from finding out our local climate change metrics. And residents from figuring out if high CO2 levels are from indoor air pollution or outdoor air pollution, overnight vegetation exhalations under a windless moon, or high pressure system preventing dispersion or a combo.
Bluesky is like old Twitter. I vented about my high CO2 and two eminent university scientists — a climate change expert and an engineer — helped me figure out the why. Twitter was mum, more silent than a mummy. It’s tragic how one man has destroyed its magic. Anywho…
Outdoor carbon dioxide sources or causes in the summer:
- Soil and vegetation respiration overnight;
- High pressure system suppressing circulation;
- Wind less than 10kph;
- A lush lawn or garden under a canopy of trees in full summer leaf can increase CO2 in the outdoor boundary layer to much higher than what I recorded;
- Traffic, cars, freight ships, trains, etc.;
- Temperature difference between outdoors and indoors so that when hotter outside, high outdoor CO2 will move indoors through leaky areas (eg, old windows);
- The greater the temperature difference and higher the wind speed, the more outdoor air will move indoors when hotter outside;
- Sewer gasses from fertilizer, soil, vegetation, and people pouring shit down the sewers like paint, will exhale CO2 and other noxious fumes into basements and on up.
Reducing outdoor sources of carbon dioxide include:
Water or plumbing traps aka pour water down drains and sinks and toilets weekly in the summer or quarterly all year round. That creates a water layer between your indoor air and the sewer.
Wait for the daylight for daily photosynthesis when the plants will start inhaling CO2, drawing outdoor levels down, and exhaling oxygen.
Wait for wind above 10kph to disperse carbon dioxide at night or the high pressure system to move on out.
Replace your windows, so that they don’t leak, and seal up cracks in your building envelope.
Put large, leafy plants in your home, ones known to take carbon dioxide out of the air.
When outdoor air quality improves, open your windows wide during the day (before it heats up) to blow out the CO2.
Bug your MP to pass regulations on sources of indoor air pollution and to get Weather Canada to show live local, citywide, provincial, and national levels of CO2 and air pollutants like ozone, nitrous oxides, PM2.5, etc. And encourage weather broadcasters to include local pollution levels and sources of CO2 in their weather reports.
Bug your MP and MPP to reduce outdoor air pollution. I believe Premier Ford cancelled the Drive Clean program, which means vehicles can pollute the air again. He also intends to bring natural gas power plants online again, increasing poisonous air pollution and carbon dioxide levels. These backward measures are like a smack to the face. We put in all this effort to clean our air, and he forces us to start all over again. Never mind wasting all our money on doing the same thing twice.