Air pollution in New York City linked to wildfires hundreds of miles away

ScienceDaily | 1/22/2020 | Staff
botiboti (Posted by) Level 3
For the study, published 21 January in the European Geosciences Union (EGU) journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, researchers in the lab of Drew Gentner, associate professor of chemical & environmental engineering, monitored the air quality at the Yale Coastal Field Station in Guilford, CT and four other sites in the New York metropolitan area. In August of 2018, they observed two spikes in the presence of air pollutants -- both coinciding with New York-area air quality advisories for ozone. The pollutants were the kind found in the smoke of wildfires and controlled agricultural burning. Using three types of evidence -- data from the observation sites, smoke maps from satellite imagery, and backtracking 3-D models of air parcels (both the maps and models were produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) -- the researchers traced the pollutants' origin in the first event to fires on the western coast of Canada, and in the second event to the southeastern U.S.

Biomass burning, which occurs on a large scale during wildfires and some controlled burns, is a major source of air pollutants that impact air quality, human health, and climate. These events release numerous gases into the atmosphere and produce particulate matter (PM), including black carbon (BC) and other primary organic aerosols (POA) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers. Known as...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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