Stories tagged ozone

It is estimated that two-thirds of sulfur dioxide (SO2) air pollution in North America comes from coal power plants. In a recent scientific article published in Geophysical Research Letters, a team of scientists have confirmed that SO2 levels in the vicinity of U.S. coal power plants have fallen by nearly 50% since 2005. .Mean SO2 values for 2005-2007
Mean SO2 values for 2005-2007Courtesy NASA
This finding, using satellite observations, confirms ground-based measurements of declining SO2 levels. In many parts of the world, ground-based monitoring does not exist or is not extensive; therefore, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on the Aura satellite could potentially measure levels of harmful emissions in regions of the world where reliable ground monitoring is unavailable..Mean SO2 values for 2008-2010
Mean SO2 values for 2008-2010Courtesy NASA
Key: Yellow to violet colors correspond to statistically significant enhancements in SO2 pollution in the vicinity of the largest SO2 emitting coal-burning power plants indicated by the black dots.
Key: Yellow to violet colors correspond to statistically significant enhancements in SO2 pollution in the vicinity of the largest SO2 emitting coal-burning power plants indicated by the black dots.Courtesy NASA

Previously, space-based SO2 monitoring was limited to plumes from volcanic eruptions and detecting anthropogenic emissions from large source regions as in China. A new spatial filtration technique allows the detection of individual pollution sources in Canada and the U.S.

"What we’re seeing in these satellite observations represents a major environmental accomplishment," said Bryan Bloomer, an Environmental Protection Agency scientist familiar with the new satellite observations. "This is a huge success story for the EPA and the Clean Air Interstate Rule," he said.

Article: NASA Satellite Confirms Sharp Decline In Pollution From US Coal Power Plants

Ozone is a triatomic molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms. Earlier this week, the scientific journal Applied Physics Letters published the article, Ozone generation by rock fracture: Earthquake early warning?, written by Raúl A. Baragiola, Catherine A. Dukes, and Dawn Hedges of the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science. If future research does confirm a correlation, an array of ozone detectors could be used to give early warning to earthquakes, as well as averting disasters in tunnel excavation, landslides, and underground mining operations.

University of Virginia Press Release: Study: Ozone From Rock Fracture Could Serve As Earthquake Early Warning

Mar
20
2010

Dino killer
Dino killerCourtesy Donald Davis (for NASA)

How Earth impact kills dinos

As "mdr" explained recently in, astroid found guilty of killing dinosaurs that a panel of scientists, after reviewing all evidence, blame an asteroid impact for the demise of the dinosaurs.

Ozone killed the dinosaurs

A paper has just been published saying that dinosaurs choked on ozone.

A new study in the journal Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology puts forth the idea that the Chicxulub impact, long blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous era 65 million years ago, could have done them in by flinging huge amounts of ozone precursor chemicals -- nitrogen oxides, methane, and other hydrocarbons -- into the air.

Below the article in Discovery News, this comment by 1sang (Doug) explains why mammals and avians survived.

In order to (survive) all you'd have to do is get on steeper slopes and find enough food to live for a couple of years. Mammals and smaller avian dinosaurs could more easily accomplish this than their massive cousins (in fact, many were probably already in this safety zone away from the many large predators roaming the lowlands).

He also notes that methane release leads to an increase in ozone and that today we have the beginnings of lots of methane being released (I wrote about this here: Methane ice).