Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Megacity traffic soot contributes to global warming

13.12.2018

Soot from road traffic in emerging countries can reach high altitudes, where it can be transported over long distances and thus contributes to global warming. This is the conclusion of a study performed by an international team of researchers in the Bolivian cities of La Paz, El Alto and the neighboring Chacaltaya mountain observatory. The reduction of pollutants from road traffic such as soot particles from diesel cars should therefore have high priority in order to both protect the health of the population in the growing conurbations of emerging countries and reduce global warming. The results have been published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

From 3 to 14 December, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 24) will take place in Katowice, Poland, where the member states will discuss climate protection measures and negotiate the implementation of the Paris Climate Convention. IASS Potsdam, FZ Jülich and TROPOS discussed at a forum in the EU pavilion how the reduction of air pollution can contribute to human health and climate protection.


La Paz and at the background its iconic mountain Illimani (6439m asl).

Ever Veimar Huanca Lucero


Illimani (6439m asl) in Bolivia. Soot from road traffic in emerging countries can reach high altitudes, where it can be transported over long distances and thus contributes to global warming.

Ever Veimar Huanca Lucero

Soot particles from combustion processes significantly contribute to air pollution because they contain heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are toxic. A reduction of soot particles through driving restrictions for old diesel vehicles can therefore significantly reduce the health impact, as studies by LfULG and TROPOS have shown based on the low emission zone in Leipzig 2017.

However, soot does not only have a negative effect on human health, it also contributes to global warming by absorbing solar radiation.

According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there are still major uncertainties regarding the quantities and distribution of soot in the atmosphere. While altitude observatories in the Himalayas or the Alps provide insights into these processes, the picture is still very incomplete, especially for the Southern Hemisphere.

Large quantities of soot probably enter the atmosphere via forest fires in the tropics as well as from traffic in the growing conurbations of emerging countries. Scientists therefore hope to gain important insights from the Chacaltaya altitude observatory in Bolivia, which became operational in 2012.

At 5240 meters, the station is currently the highest measuring station in the world. It is operated by the Universidad Mayor de San Andres (UMSA-LFA) in Bolivia and by a consortium, consisting of institutes from France (Grenoble University/IGE, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement/LSCE and Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique/LaMP), Germany (Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research/TROPOS), and Sweden (Stockholm University/SU).

Chacaltaya is a unique observatory in the Southern Hemisphere and of great importance for atmospheric research. With Bogota (about 7 million inhabitants on 2640m), Quito (about 2 million inhabitants on 2850m) and La Paz/El Alto (about 2 million inhabitants between 3400 and 4100 m), several of the fast-growing cities in South America are located at high altitude. Therefore, air pollution in this region has a particularly strong impact on the atmosphere and the global climate.

For the recently published study, the team with researchers from Bolivia, Germany, France, the USA, Sweden and Italy could benefit from unique conditions: With three stations at different altitudes (downtown La Paz at 3590m, El Alto Airport at 4040m and Chacaltaya Observatory at 5240m), it was possible to explain the vertical transport of soot.

"The measurements clearly show how soot from the city valley emerges with the warmed air up to the El Alto plateau and then partly up to the peaks of the Andes", explains Prof. Alfred Wiedensohler from TROPOS. From the scientists' point of view, there is no doubt that the soot in La Paz comes mainly from road traffic. During the population census on 21 November 2012, all traffic in Bolivia was completely banned for 24 hours so that the population could be registered at their place of residence.

Only ambulances were allowed to drive for emergency operations. "The result was impressive: the soot load on the road was reduced from around 20 to less than one microgram per cubic meter. This corresponds roughly to the reduction from 100 to about five percent. There is no clearer way of demonstrating the contribution of soot pollution from road traffic," reports Alfred Wiedensohler.

“This finding is important because several cities in the region might be facing the same problem. For instance Cochabamba, the third largest metropolitan area of Bolivia, has serious air quality problems according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, this study can contribute to strengthen regulations for improving air quality in different cities in the country,” adds Dr. Marcos Andrade from LFA-UMSA, coauthor of the study and coordinator of the CHC-GAW station.

For the scientists involved in the study, it is therefore obvious that the growing traffic with diesel vehicles without particulate filters is an increasing health risk for millions of people in the megacities of emerging countries. Soot is also slowing down efforts to limit climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Tilo Arnhold

Event:
EU Side Event "Sustainable solutions to combat climate change: contribution of engineers and reducing air pollution" with Dr. Kathleen Mar (IASS), Prof. Andreas Wahner (FZ Jülich) and Prof. Hartmut Herrmann (TROPOS), 03 Dec 2018 at COP24 in Katowice:
https://www.tropos.de/index.php?id=888&L=0
http://ec.europa.eu/clima/events/0124/calendar_en.htm

Links:
Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles. (12 Mar 2018)
https://www.tropos.de/en/current-issues/press-releases/details/surveying-the-arc...

Healthier Air due to the Low Emission Zone (14 Dec 2017)
https://www.tropos.de/en/current-issues/press-releases/details/translate-to-engl...

Manila Aerosol Characterization Experiment (MACE-2015)
https://www.tropos.de/aktuelles/messkampagnen/blogs-und-berichte/mace-2015/

Chacaltaya (5240 m) in Bolivia - The World highest monitoring station for measuring atmospheric composition change (24 Apr 2012)
https://www.tropos.de/en/current-issues/press-releases/details/chacaltaya-5240-m...

Chacaltaya GAW Station (CHC)
http://www.chacaltaya.edu.bo/

LaPaz@2020
http://www.bolivie.ird.fr/recherche/projets-de-recherche/environnement-et-ressou...

The Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) is member of the Leibniz Association, which connects 93 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services.
The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad.
They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder, employing some 19,100 individuals, including 9,900 researchers. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 1.9 billion Euros.
https://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/en/home/

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Alfred Wiedensohler
Head of the department Experimental Aerosol and Cloud Microphysics at the Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS)
Tel. +49-341-2717-7062
http://www.tropos.de/institut/ueber-uns/mitarbeitende/alfred-wiedensohler/

Dr. Marcos Andrade
Director of the LFA, Coordinator of the CHC-GAW station
Laboratorio de Física de la Atmósfera, IIF-UMSA, Bolivia
Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz
Tel. +591-2799155
http://www.chacaltaya.edu.bo/lfa-bolivia.html

or
Tilo Arnhold
TROPOS Public Relations
Tel. +49-341-2717-7189
https://www.tropos.de/en/current-issues/press-releases/

Originalpublikation:

Wiedensohler, A., Andrade, M., Weinhold, K., Müller, T., Birmili, W., Velarde, F., Moreno, I., Forno, R., Sanchez, M. F., Laj, P., Ginot, P., Whiteman, D. N., Krejci, R., Sellegri, K., Reichler, T. (2018): Black carbon emission and transport mechanisms to the free troposphere at the La Paz/El Alto (Bolivia) metropolitan area based on the Day of Census (2012). Atmos. Environ., 194, 158-169 p. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2018.09.032
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2018.09.032
The study was funded by the European Union within the framework of the H2020 programme (ACTRIS-2), the German Federal Environment Agency (WCCAP), IRD France (CHARME) and the Swedish funding agencies FORMAS and STINT.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.tropos.de/en/current-issues/press-releases/details/translate-to-engl...

Tilo Arnhold | Leibniz-Institut für Troposphärenforschung e. V.

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III
18.01.2019 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht The pace at which the world’s permafrost soils are warming
16.01.2019 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>