Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Overseas NOx Could Be Boosting Ozone Levels In US

Date:
February 18, 2006
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
Large amounts of a chemical that boosts ozone production are being transported to North America from across the Pacific Ocean in May. These higher levels of NOx could be contributing to significant increases in ozone levels over North America.

A smoggy day in Atlanta town. NOx arriving in the U.S. from across the Pacific could be boosting ozone levels, a major component of smog.
Credit: Photo courtesy K. Baumann

Large amounts of a chemical that boosts ozone production are being transported to North America from across the Pacific Ocean in May, according to a new report by researchers from Georgia Tech. These higher levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), arriving in late spring, could be contributing to significant increases in ozone levels over North America. The research appeared in volume 33 of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

“It’s well-known that pollutants don’t always stay in the region in which they are produced. What’s not understood as well is where and when they travel,” said Yuhang Wang, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Finding this large amount of NOx traveling from across the Pacific is important because it will allow us to build better models so we can better understand how pollutants created in one region of the world are affecting the other regions.”

Wang, along with colleagues from Tech, the University of California, Irvine, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research studied data from the Tropospheric Ozone Production about the Spring Equinox (TOPSE) experiment when they found much larger amounts of an array of chemicals, including NOx, and ozone than predicted by current models.

Formed when fuel burns at a high temperature, any of the sources of NOx are manmade, with automobile exhaust, electric utilities and industrial activity responsible for the bulk of human-produced NOx. The amount of NOx available largely determines how much ozone, a major component of smog, is produced in most regions of the atmosphere.

“With a very small amount of NOx sitting around, as long as you have all these emissions of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, the NOx sits there and continuously produces ozone. So in a way you really don’t need a lot of it, but when you have a lot of it, it tends to produce ozone faster,” said Wang.

Current models have shown these chemical species coming across the pacific at lower altitudes, but those peak in March and April. Wangs finding that the higher altutide transport occurs in May is significant, not only because they found a large amount of NOx unaccounted for by current models, but the fact that it’s occurring in May means the NOx is more efficient at making ozone.

“For the same amount of NOx, ozone production is faster in May than April because
there is more ultraviolet light and water vapor available in May,” said Wang.

While it’s not clear whether this trans-Pacific transport is coming from Asia or as far away as Europe, given Asia’s proximity and its burgeoning industrial activity, Wang suggests it is the more likely source. The next step in this research is to study chemical measurements over east Asia to see if there is indeed a link to this seasonal transition and emissions from Asia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "Overseas NOx Could Be Boosting Ozone Levels In US." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060216232715.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2006, February 18). Overseas NOx Could Be Boosting Ozone Levels In US. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060216232715.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "Overseas NOx Could Be Boosting Ozone Levels In US." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060216232715.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
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