California is in a condition called “exceptional drought”, the most severe condition of drought defined. The lack of rain has serious consequences for the air, as it is not cleaned via rain that washes it, and high levels both dust and smog are the result. Negative air ions (energetic air) cannot exist in dusty and polluted air. Furthermore, the rains normally generate very high levels of energetic air, which will not exist without the rains. In addition, the forests and plants no longer transpire as much: evaporation of water from leaves for cooling – radon might be transpired via leaves with water. Nor do empty lakes and reservoirs, and thus ionization via naturally occurring radioactive radon, (radon and its alpha particles are the source of most of our energetic air,negative ions of oxygen, found in the lower atmosphere) is dramatically reduced.
It is bad enough to breathe dusty and polluted air, yet with long term drought energetic air is lost, and this can have a significant impact on health and well being. The cilia of the bronchia are stimulated to increased action by energetic air and this helps clear the throat and lungs: without this stimulation, via air ions, pulmonary congestion and breathing difficulties are more likely. Depression of mood will occur as levels of energetic air drop to zero and below (to the opposite, which is enervated air , full of “posi-ions”, as found in the “witches winds”: Santa Ana Winds, Chinook and Foehn). For many people awareness and the ability to think clearly could be impaired, due to a fascinating relationship between brain serotonin and air ions (Albert Krueger and Eddie Reed, University of California at Berkeley). Also, see: Astronauts Experience the Dangers of De-ionized Air.
What can we do about this? See my previous blogs for specific recommendations. Electronic air purifiers – ionizers are one of the best options, if you can find a good one. These devices need to be evaluated and graded, and the results published online. See link to Negative Ions .
More Information: Drought, Air Ions and Health
(c) Paul C Adams 2014 updated: 9/15/14