Friday, 22 January 2010

In Passing

Blowin’ on the winds?


NOAA Press Release:

Springtime ozone levels above western North America are rising primarily due to air flowing eastward from the Pacific Ocean, a trend that is largest when the air originates in Asia.  These increases in ozone could make it more difficult for the United States to meet Clean Air Act standards for ozone pollution at ground level, according to a new international study...

“In springtime, pollution from across the hemisphere, not nearby sources, contributes to the ozone increases above western North America,” said lead author Owen R. Cooper, Ph.D., of the NOAA-funded Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  “When air is transported from a broad region of south and east Asia, the trend is largest.”
...
The analysis shows an overall significant increase in springtime ozone of 14 percent from 1995 to 2008.  When they included data from 1984, the year with the lowest average ozone level, the scientists saw a similar rate of increase from that time through 2008 and an overall increase in springtime ozone of 29 percent.

“This study did not quantify how much of the ozone increase is solely due to Asia," Cooper said.  “But we can say that the background ozone entering North America increased over the past 14 years and probably over the past 25 years.”

The influence of ozone from Asia and other sources on ground-level air quality is a question for further study, Cooper said.  Scientists will need to routinely measure ozone levels close to the surface at several locations along the West Coast to see whether similar trends are impacting ground-level air quality.
Immediate questions:  If it turns out the inflows introduce a significant amount of ozone (with respect to legislated target levels), should the targets be revised upward?  Or suppose the inflows exceed the target levels - do we ban all economic human activity?

Via:  FuturePundit, via Instapundit

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