Santiago is surrounded by mountains on all sides. A coastal range lies to the west of the city and the towering Andes Mountains are on the east. To the north and south are mountains that connect the two ranges, making Santiago stuck in a valley. A valley filled with close to five million people living in a city full of dirty factories, poorly regulated transportation, and dust filled roads. Due to Santiago’s demographic location, temperature inversion has a major effect on the air in and above the city. With the temperature inversion taking place, the air above the city is warmer than the air beneath it. Instead of the air cooling as it goes up in the troposphere, it warms, causing an inversion layer above the city. This traps in the air rising and creates the smog that is so bad in Santiago. The unhealthy smog consists of dust, unregulated vehicle and transportation emissions, and bad air from coal and wood burning factories in the developing city. Because of this dangerous smog, studies have shown that nearly 20,000 people a year suffer from pollution related health problems in the city and many cases have ended in premature death.
Santiago has a semiarid climate caused by the temperature inversion resulting with summers being warm and dry and the winters being more humid and cool. On average the city receives around 320mm of rainfall per year, most of the precipitation falling in the winter months (December, January). The average temperatures range from around 21 degrees centigrade in the summer months to around 9 degrees centigrade. The temperature inversion and inversion layer make the rainfall less than normal within in the city, making the smog and pollution even worse and keeping the filthy air and smog trapped.
The primary pollutants in Santiago are the public transportation systems, factories, and unpaved roads in the city. There are 11,000 diesel busses that are used for public transportation in the city that result in the majority of the pollution. The busses are old and burn fuel inefficiently causing unhealthy air. Another main factor is the 400 miles of unpaved roads throughout the city. Massive amounts of dust and particles are stirred up every day as these roads are used and the lack of wind in the city makes it worse. Many of the factories that were built in the city were quickly built during rapid economic growth and development and are poorly regulated. These factories release a lot of gasses as well that don’t get circulated because of lack of wind and the emissions are often dangerous.
Aside from all the pollutants within the city, the inversion layer creates horrible circulation and ventilation above Santiago. There is a major lack of wind and participation that could help break down a lot of the pollution and smog, so it just sits above the city. This being…