Posted on January 26, 2016 by Bob Berwyn
Wildfire smoke may interact with other pollutants to raise ozone levels. @bobberwyn photo.
Across the U.S., ozone levels were higher on smoky days than on smoke-free days
Wildfire smoke on its own can trigger health warnings for direct exposure, and new research from Colorado State University suggests that there may be a more widespread impact after they linked smoke with elevated levels of ozone.
In globally warming world, where the number and size of wildfires keeps growing, the findings have significant implications for public health. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, wildfires | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, climate change, Environment, ozone, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Got smog? EPA wants to cut ozone, but will face a challenge on new standard.
Environmentalists say new rule is to weak; industry asks Congress to step into the fray
The EPA’s new smog-fighting ozone standard is likely headed down the same path as the agency’s other recent initiatives to improve the environment.
Like the recently updated wetlands rule and the Clean Power Plan, the new ozone limit was immediately criticized from all sides. Environmental advocates said the agency ignored its own experts when it set the new limit at 70 parts per billion. Industry claims the new rule will cut profits and cost jobs. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air quality, Environment, EPA, ozone, ozone standard, pollution, smog | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A snapshot of ozone conditions in early June 2015.
Scientists say more monitoring will be crucial for regulators
FRISCO — Proposed new standards for harmful ozone pollution could present a big challenge for air quality managers at the state and local level. More monitoring is needed to help tell apart local sources from ozone that’s generated elsewhere, Boulder-based scientists wrote last week in Science.
Last November, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lowering the primary ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 or 65 ppb, based on ozone’s known effects on children, the elderly, and people who have lung diseases such as asthma. A decision by the EPA Administrator is expected in October 2015. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, Environment, EPA, ozone, public health | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Western U.S. counties violating current and proposed ozone air quality standards. Map courtesy Jeremy Nichols/ClimateWest blog.
La Niña weather pattern found to contribute to spikes in western ozone levels
FRISCO — Spring ozone formation in parts of the western U.S. appear to be linked with the hemispheric La Niña weather pattern, when the path of the jet stream forces high altitude ozone down to ground level.
After discovering the link, a team of researchers say their findings may help forecast harmful ozone episodes well in advance, which could have implications for attaining the national ozone standard. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, La Niña | Tagged: air pollution, air quality, climate, Environment, La Niña, ozone | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Sensitive instruments to track methane, VOCs and other airborne toxins from New Mexico to North Dakota
The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan.
FRISCO — A recent study of satellite data showing a hotspot of potent heat-trapping methane pollution over the Four Corners region makes it clear that we’re digging an ever-deeper global warming hole by fracking every last corner of the country.
As NOAA put it, “Vast regions west of the Mississippi River are under development for oil and gas extraction … but while one focus is on what comes out of the ground, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences researchers and their colleagues are studying what escapes to the air—and how it is transformed in the atmosphere and affects air quality and climate.
Scientists hope to learn much more about the massive quantities of pollution escaping from fossil fuel development areas in the next few months as they launch this year’s Shale Oil and Natural Gas Nexus (SONGNEX 2015) field campaign, using airborne instruments to measure greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions.
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: air pollution, climate change, fracking, methane, ozone, smog, VOCs | 3 Comments »
Posted on December 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite image shows air pollution along the East Coast and over the Atlantic.
New rule would more than pay for itself in health care savings
FRISCO — As more and more studies show the harmful health effects of smog, or ground-level ozone, the EPA wants to set new standards to help clean up the air.
Last week the agency unveiled its proposal to lower the standard from 75 parts per billion to as low as 60 ppb, pending completion of a review and comment period, including public hearings.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to review the standards every five years by following a set of open, transparent steps and considering the advice of a panel of independent experts. EPA last updated these standards in 2008, setting them at 75 ppb. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment | Tagged: air quality, Environment, EPA, New EPA smog standard, ozone, smog | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Ozone damage on the leaf of a cutleaf coneflower manifests in the form of black stipules. Photo courtesy RMNP.
New study projects mid-century air quality under various global warming scenarios
FRISCO — Even with ongoing efforts to improve air quality, global warming could drive ozone levels high enough to cause widespread damage to plants by mid-century, according to a new study that focused on the U.S. but also considered global air quality.
“Modelling future air quality is very complex, because so many factors need to be taken into account at both a global and local scale,” said Dr. Val Martin, of the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: air quality, climate change, global warming, ozone | 1 Comment »