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 Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>