Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Global Pollution Hot Spots Identified


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 Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | 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: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>