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Pollution, Aerosols and Climate Change

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Presentation on theme: "Pollution, Aerosols and Climate Change"— Presentation transcript:

1 Pollution, Aerosols and Climate Change
Laura Marschke Southwest Early College

2 What are we learning about today?
Pollution What are we learning about today? What is pollution? Air pollutants Where does air pollution come from? Why do we care about pollution? Health effects Pollution and climate change Steps to reduce air pollution Colorado’s plans for reducing pollution Do measures to reduce air pollution actually work? Pittsburgh, Beijing, and London case studies

3 What is pollution? Cleveland, 1973 NYC, 1970s China, 2012
Pittsburgh, 1940s

4 What is pollution? The introduction of a contaminant into the environment Land pollution Littering Sewage Nuclear and chemical waste Air pollution Emissions Smoke Acid rain Fumes Water pollution Pesticides, fertilizers Oil spills Sewage Soaps, antifreeze, oil Household chemicals

5 Quick facts – air pollution
The average adult consumes 3000 gallons of polluted air every day Vehicle exhaust contributes to 60% of carbon monoxide emissions in the US (up to 95% in large cities) London's "Great Smog“ of was one of the worst air pollution incidents in history Deaths of more than 4,000 died in just six days Harvard School of Public Health has recently (2010) come up with the data that approximately 4% of all deaths in the US can be attributed to air pollution

6 Air pollutants Particulate matter Particulate matter
Ground-level ozone Carbon monoxide Nitrogen oxides Sulfur oxides Volatiles organic compounds (VOCs)

7 Where does air pollution come from?
Wood burning Fireplaces Wood stoves Land-clearing fires Burning toxic substances Garbage Plastics Air conditioners, refrigerators, fire extinguishers Fossil fuel burning Cars, trucks, etc Boats Trains Gas-powered tools Household products Paints Printer ink Hairspray, air fresheners Stirring up dust Building, driving, any way we change the landscape

8 Why do we care about pollution?
Health effects Climate effects

9 Health effects of small particulates
Contain cancer-causing materials Penetrate lungs and collect in air sacs Coughing/wheezing Asthma (onset or increases frequency and/or duration of events) Heart disease Chronic bronchitis Emphysema Pneumonia Premature births/low birth weight More emergency room visits More hospitalizations More time off of work and school

10 Example - pneumoconiosis
Develops after small particulates, stay and accumulate inside lungs A deadly occupational disease which develops over a long period of time Said to be incurable even with contemporary medicine

11 Health effects of ground-level ozone
Irritate eyes, nose, and throat Inflammation of lungs and airways Coughing Asthma Bronchitis Chest pain Difficulty breathing Susceptibility to lung disease Damage to lung tissue Premature aging of lungs Contribute to chronic lung disease

12 Health effects of carbon monoxide
This is a poison!!! Small amounts of CO will cause tiredness and chest pains Larger amounts impair vision and coordination, triggers headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea High concentrations – FATAL!

13 Health effects of other air pollutants
Cancer Low immunity Disorders of the nervous system Interference with child development And more!

14 Pollution and climate change
Fine particulates Decrease precipitation downwind Reduce photosynthetic activity and growth of plants Can change reflectivity of clouds Pollution can limit plant productivity and survival Sulfates and nitrates cause cooling Regional ozone concentrations will increase Higher concentrations of ozone increase transpiration and exacerbates tree drought stress Increases vulnerability to attacks and wildfire

15 Steps to reduce air pollution
Walk or bike more Carpool or use public transportation Maintain your vehicle Combine errands to reduce driving Drive smart Accelerate slowly Drive slower Avoid letting your car idle Don’t smoke Avoid using products in aerosol spray cans Use a push or electric lawn mower instead of gas-powered Avoid chemicals or cleaners that emit fumes Maintain gas appliances and heaters

16 What is Colorado doing? Must follow Clean Air Act (federal law)
19 regulations (this is a sample) Particles, smokes, carbon monoxide and sulfur oxides Odor control Air pollution emission Wood burning controls VOC controls Hazardous air pollutants controls Transportation conformity Motor/diesel vehicle inspection programs CFC regulations Street sanding and sweeping Acid rain controls Lead based paint controls

17 Does it work? Pittsburgh, 1940s
Here we can see a half-washed building. A "before and after" shot of St. Louis from the newspaper of the time. Probably inspired many to do the same thing in Pittsburgh. Does it work? Pittsburgh, 1940s "A county-wide ordinance was passed in Allegheny County in 1949, after the deadly Donora Fog blanketed a five-state area for five days in " The end result, which is immediately visible even at such a short distance. The air is much cleaner, something that most of us take for granted today. But we shouldn't forget how many people had to fight to get to that point, and how we now have to fight for other things.

18 Does it work? Beijing, 2008 Before/after in Beijing Measures taken
The Chinese government imposed new restrictions for air quality before the 2008 Olympic Games Measures taken Polluting factories closed or improved Wastewater treated Increased forested areas within city New public transportation using updated emission guidelines Old taxis, etc have been replaced Staggered work days to reduce traffic volumes

19 Does it work? Beijing, 2008 What a difference ... these photos were taken just 24 hours apart, on Sunday and yesterday / Pics: Michael Dodge Source: The Daily Telegraph (August 5, 2008) The study (about Beijing air quality) was just recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and describes how air pollution can “affect cardiovascular disease mechanisms in healthy, young people.” Beijing air quality throughout the Olympics

20 YES Does it work? Beijing, 2008
New research shows that levels of carbon monoxide dropped sharply in the Beijing area between 2007 and 2008, due to traffic restrictions imposed because of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Knowing the levels of carbon monoxide allowed the researchers to infer that carbon dioxide emissions also dropped dramatically.

21 “2012 Olympics might bring the worst air quality in Europe”
Current maps of London air quality Does it work? London, 2012 “2012 Olympics might bring the worst air quality in Europe” It is feared that the city’s nitrogen oxide and ozone concentrations will negatively affect the 2012 Olympic athletes and the vast number of spectators and tourists in attendance In addition, legal action (to the British government) for failing to comply with the EU’s January 1, 2010 deadline for fulfilling established air quality plans

22 What are we learning about today?
Aerosols What are we learning about today? What are aerosols? Where do aerosols come from? Why do we care about aerosols? Health effects of aerosols Climate effects of aerosols Steps to reduce aerosol emissions Summary Compare and contrast pollution and aerosols

23 What are aerosols? Minute particles suspended in the atmosphere
They scatter and absorb sunlight Can be emitted directly (primary) or created through chemistry (secondary) Act as a site for a chemical reaction to take place Important: destruction of stratospheric ozone

24 sea salt dust volcanic ash
What are aerosols? sea salt dust volcanic ash Types Dust Sea salt Sulfates Black carbon Organic matter Nitrates Volcanic ash Pollen Sea salt Soot

25 Dust Mainly from deserts Solid particles Mostly natural
Humans contribute from land conversion Albedo is approximately 0.5 Does dust cause cooling or warming? Both

26 Cooling or warming? Over forest or water? Over ice or snow? Cooling
Sand is lighter (higher albedo) than forests or water Over ice or snow? Warming Sand is darker (lower albedo) than snow or ice

27 Sea Salt Mainly from the oceans
Solid particles unless hydrated with water Mostly natural Causes cooling

28 Sulfates (nitrates are similar)
Secondary emission Produced from SO2 or DMS Mostly from humans Fossil fuel combustion Albedo of 0.99 Does this cause warming or cooling? Cooling

29 Black carbon Mostly from biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion
Appears black to the naked eye What would it’s albedo be? Close to 0 Does this cause warming or cooling? Warming over snow/ice especially!

30 Organic Matter Variety of compounds Natural or from humans
Terpenes from trees, vegetation Fossil fuel and biomass burning Can be primary or secondary emissions

31 Where do aerosols come from?
Saharan dust storm off West African coast Dust Deserts Agriculture Sea salt Oceans Sulfates Chemical reaction of sulfur dioxide Volcanoes Fossil fuel burning Marine plankton

32 Where do aerosols come from?
Black carbon Transportation Fossil fuel burning Cook stoves Biomass burning Organic matter Nitrates Chemical reaction of ammonia and sulfates Agricultural emissions

33 Where do aerosols come from?
Pale yellow Clear sky Maximum visibility Dark red-brown Very hazy conditions Video of aerosol optical depth over time (1/05 - 6/12) January 2005

34 Where do aerosols come from?
High concentrations due to land clearing and agricultural fires (dry seasons) South America July – Sept Central America March – May Central and south Africa June – Sept Southeast Asia January – April High concentrations due to dust storms Arabian Peninsula May – August High concentrations due to human-produced air pollution Northern India and Himalayas region Many months Eastern China Most of the year

35 Why do we care about aerosols?
Health effects Climate effects

36 Health effects of aerosols
Enhanced mortality, cardiovascular, respiratory and allergic diseases Asthma, bronchitis, cancer, etc Increased lung toxicity Super-fine particles can travel to respiratory tracts, enter the blood stream and enter the brain Suppression of defense mechanisms Video: African Dust, Coral Reefs and Human Health

37 Aerosols and climate change
Changes in formation of clouds and precipitation Quantity of droplets Size of droplets Changes in reflectivity Can inhibit or enhance cloud formation

38 Aerosols and climate change
Cause warming or cooling Black carbon Warm Sulfates Cool

39 Steps to reduce aerosol emissions
Clean Air Act and other legislation Scrubbers and filters Advanced combustion techniques Sustainable agriculture Conversion to newer technology Cook stoves, etc Alternative energy sources Limiting fossil fuel consumption

40 Summary: compare and contrast
Pollution Aerosols Contaminant to environment Particulate matter Ground-level ozone Carbon monoxide Nitrogen oxides Sulfur oxides VOCs Emitted directly into the atmosphere Moderate to severe health effects Generally cause cooling Suspended particulate matter Dust Sea salt Sulfates Black carbon Organic matter Nitrates Emitted directly or secondary after chemical reaction Moderate to severe health effects Cause warming or cooling

41 Sources http://www.bcairquality.ca/101/individual-pollution.html
https://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/news/7535/reducing-traffic-2008-olympics-yielded-large-cut-co2 Also, special thanks to Jason English at UCAR for some images and information used in this power point

42 Image Sources Sea salt image – Tiyani Fan, graduate student at the University of Colorado Black carbon image – Pengfei Yu, graduate student at the University of Colorado


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