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Fireworks are fun but can reduce atmospheric visibility

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To some, holidays such as Bastille Day, Independence Day, and New Year's Eve, as well as major sporting events, wouldn't be the same without fireworks. But in a new Weather article, Dr. Francis Pope and his colleagues highlight the negative effects of fireworks on visibility and short-term air quality.

Using data from 34 meteorological stations throughout the UK, the investigators noted an average 25% reduction in visibility caused by atmospheric particulate matter from fireworks and bonfires on Guy Fawkes Night, which is celebrated each year on November 5th. The effects, which were especially pronounced when humidity was high, raise concerns regarding motorist and pedestrian safety.

"Guy Fawkes Night, and fireworks in general, are much loved by me and many others," said Dr. Pope. "Unfortunately, these events can also lead to significant reductions in visibility. Our work will lead to improved forecasting of visibility degradation."

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