Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global Pollution Hot Spots Identified

10.12.2002



Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and other institutions have pinpointed the locations of high concentrations of air pollutants around the world by combining data from four satellite imaging systems. Their findings are being presented this week in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

The researchers used information from instruments on NASA and European Space Agency satellites to measure atmospheric levels of three types of pollutants that can affect human health: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and aerosols. They found especially high concentrations of each over the eastern United States, western and southern Europe, and eastern China, which are among the most heavily industrialized regions in the world.

Steven Massie, an atmospheric chemist at NCAR on the data analysis team, says such satellite images of air pollutants are important for efforts to improve air quality. "As the capability of these imaging systems becomes more and more powerful, the international community will have a way of studying pollution on a global basis and the technical means to monitor emissions from each country,” he explains.



The pollutants vary somewhat by season. In eastern China, for example, urban-industrial emissions of nitrogen dioxide spike during the winter. In the spring, however, aerosol levels are especially high, both because of industrial activities and because of winds that blow in dust from the Gobi and other deserts to the west.

Once airborne, the pollutants often drift eastward and diminish the air quality in neighboring areas. The research, for example, shows that carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and aerosols from China flow eastward over Japan and the north Pacific Ocean.

Nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide are produced largely by industrial activities and vehicle exhaust. Nitrogen dioxide leads to the formation of smog and can irritate the lungs; high levels of carbon monoxide cause a variety of health effects, especially for people with cardiovascular diseases.

Aerosols, or microscopic particles in the air, can cause respiratory ailments as well as reduce visibility and damage buildings. They are associated both with industrial activities and with such natural sources as desert dust and forest fires. Previous research has demonstrated that high aerosol concentrations in nonindustrialized regions over Africa, western China, and eastern Siberia are due to desert dust storms, wildfires, and burning of vegetation for agriculture, home heating, and cooking.

The researchers used four instruments to collect their data. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), and Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) device take atmospheric readings from aboard NASA satellites; the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) is a spectrometer on the second European Remote Sensing Satellite. MOPITT is a joint project of NCAR and the Canadian Space Agency.

In addition to NCAR, the research team includes scientists from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Bremen in Germany.

Anatta | EurekAlert!

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>