Phoenix weather: Is it smog?

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by Royal Norman | Meteorologist

Bio | Email | Follow: @RoyalNorman

Video report by Andi Barness

Posted on January 19, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 19 at 2:24 PM

PHOENIX -- A great question came into the newsroom Friday.

With burning prohibited through Sunday and air quality alerts issued for high particulate levels, someone wondered, "Is it smog?"

Traditionally, smog describes a combination of smoke and fog in the air. However, smog has come to be known as "problematic, largely urban air pollution.

So go ahead and call our dirty air smog if you want to.

You could also use the term "brown cloud," but that's sort of the old school name.

You could be a trendsetter and call it, hashtag, "smaze." The less commonly used term, which combines the words "smoke" and "haze," is actually recognized by the American Meteorological Society.

Possibly the best description of our air this weekend is "smust." Smust equals smoke plus dust. But now we're just getting into "polar vortex" territory.

Air quality is a serious issue at times in the Valley, and we'll keep you up-to-date when we have alerts. You can also visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website.

For no burn alerts, visit the Maricopa County Air Quality Department website.

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