Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fires in Alaska and Canada caused sharp increase in Houston's ozone level

26.09.2006
Forest fires that ravaged parts of eastern Alaska and western Canada in 2004 exacerbated the already-high levels of ozone pollution in Houston, Texas, some 5,000 kilometers [3,000 miles] away. The Houston area average eight-hour ozone concentrations on 19 and 20 July 2004 were the highest of any July day in the last five years. Scientists have now tracked their source to smoke from major fires along the Alaska-Yukon border that reached their greatest intensity a week earlier, 12 to 14 July.

A team of 15 scientists headed by Gary Morris of Valparaiso University in Indiana analyzed data from a variety of sources, including weather balloons launched from the campus of Rice University in Houston, NASA satellite instruments, aircraft, and computer models. Their findings will be published on 26 September in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres).

Houston frequently fails to meet federal standards for ground-level ozone. Besides posing a health risk for people with respiratory problems, ground-level ozone has also been linked to increased rates of asthma among children, and it can destroy plants and reduce crop yields.

In the new study, Morris and colleagues tracked an air mass from the region of Alaskan-Canadian forest fires as it traveled across Canada, through the mid-western United States and down the Mississippi valley into the Houston area. "We found that with the arrival of the pollutants associated with these forest fires, ozone levels increased between 50-100 percent in the first five kilometers [three miles] over Houston," Morris said.

Morris, Scott Hersey from Rice, Anne Thompson from Pennsylvania State University, and the other researchers employed imagery from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on the Terra satellite, aerosol (fine particle) data from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer satellite, and carbon monoxide data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder on the Aqua spacecraft. The weather balloons in the study were launched as part of the Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project, to measure ozone levels from the ground up to more than 30,000 meters [100,000 feet]. Fortuitously, the project coincided with the arrival of pollution from the northern fires.

Normal summer meteorological conditions, smoke from the distant forest fires, and the typical urban pollution generated in the Houston area combined to greatly increase local ozone concentrations during this two-day event in July 2004. The scientists believe that such pollution episodes will continue. Understanding the transport and transformation of gases and aerosols over long distances is needed for improved air quality forecasting, they say.

"This event highlights the critical role imported sources can have on local air quality," said Morris. "Environmental managers at the state level need to take into consideration the impact of such sources as they develop their comprehensive plans to come into compliance with federal regulations. Continuous operation of a network that provides data on ozone concentrations above the surface would be helpful in accurately identifying the sources of pollutants and improving air quality forecasts."

Harvey Leifert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

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

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>