Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Red Alert! "Recycled'' Ozone Adds To Health Hazards In Zambia

Date:
December 11, 2001
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office
Summary:
Researchers analyzing harmful low-level ozone or "smog" over the African country of Zambia measured high amounts of pollution throughout the burning season in the year 2000, and discovered that the pollution is "recycled" from other southern African countries.

Researchers analyzing harmful low-level ozone or "smog" over the African country of Zambia measured high amounts of pollution throughout the burning season in the year 2000, and discovered that the pollution is "recycled" from other southern African countries.

Anne Thompson, an Atmospheric Chemist from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., led the study of ozone transport in Zambia during the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000) last year.

Ozone measurements from balloons launched over Zambia in September 2000 by Thompson, Jacquie Witte of Science Systems and Applications, Inc., and Agnes Phahlane of the South African Weather Service showed multiple ozone pollution layers generated by the burning of vegetation throughout the country.

In the capital city of Lusaka, smoke from charcoal production adds to pollution from agricultural burning, covering Lusaka with a continuous blanket of haze every August and September. Along with the haze, the balloon data showed that ground-level ozone over Lusaka exceeded .90 parts per million (ppm) during the daytime, "Equivalent to a 'Code Red Ozone Day' in U.S. cities," Thompson said.

The balloon data showed that there is a layer of even higher ozone on top of the surface smog. That higher layer moves in from all over southern and central Africa. Spinning counterclockwise around a semi-permanent high-pressure system, pollution from fires over Zimbabwe, Angola, DR Congo, and Botswana is swept over the Indian Ocean then "recycled" back over Zambia. "This trans-boundary ozone pollution is similar to that in the United States, except that instead of pollution moving from one state to another, it moves from country to country over Africa," Witte said. Some of the pollutants also seep out to the eastern Atlantic as well as the Indian Ocean.

During SAFARI-2000, Thompson and her colleagues also tracked pollution over southern Africa using data from NASA's Earth Probe Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) satellite instrument. "TOMS is the only satellite instrument that follows both smoke and smog," Thompson noted.

Because ozone in the stratosphere over the tropics is uniform, researchers subtract it from total amount of ozone that TOMS reads from the surface to the upper atmosphere. This enables them to calculate the smog in a "column" of atmosphere that stretches from the surface to the tropopause, more than 40,000 feet high. The TOMS satellite clearly shows tropospheric, or low-level ozone accumulating over the Indian and Atlantic Oceans because of the counter-clockwise movement of air over central and southern Africa.

High concentrations of ozone near ground level can be harmful to people, animals, and plant life. Ozone can irritate your respiratory system, aggravate asthma, and contribute to chronic lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis. Harmful ozone levels, such as those in Lusaka, can also reduce the immune system's ability to fight off bacterial infections in the respiratory system, and may cause permanent lung damage.

SAFARI 2000 is focused on investigating the coupled land-atmosphere processes associated with the emission, transport, transformation, deposition and impact of southern African aerosols such as ozone, and trace gases. During the last 2 years, NASA was a major participant in several SAFARI 2000 field campaigns, providing satellite, airborne, and ground-based observations and scientific analyses. TOMS has been following ozone in Earth's atmosphere since 1978.

Anne Thompson will be making this presentation at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, December 13 at 11:35am, PT in Room MC 123.

This research was conducted by NASA's Earth Science Enterprise; a long-term research effort dedicated to studying how human-induced and natural change affects our global environment. More information is available on the Internet at: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20011210zambia.html or http://toms.gsfc.nasa.gov/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. "Red Alert! "Recycled'' Ozone Adds To Health Hazards In Zambia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210163401.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. (2001, December 11). Red Alert! "Recycled'' Ozone Adds To Health Hazards In Zambia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210163401.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center--EOS Project Science Office. "Red Alert! "Recycled'' Ozone Adds To Health Hazards In Zambia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/12/011210163401.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins