Air Quality

Air Quality News -- ScienceDaily What is air pollution? Read news articles on the sources of air pollution and what can be done to minimize pollutants. Learn about both indoor air quality control and outdoor air pollution.

  • Spoiler alert: Computer simulations provide preview of upcoming eclipse
    on August 18, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Scientists have forecast the corona of the sun during the upcoming eclipse. The findings shed light on what the eclipse of the sun might look like Aug. 21 when it will be visible across much of the US, tracing a 70-mile-wide band across 14 states. […]

  • Discovery could lead to new catalyst design to reduce nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust
    on August 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust. […]

  • Ray of hope for more abundant wheat crops
    on August 17, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Using infrared gas analyzers connected to a miniature controlled environment chamber, botanists have simulated a sudden increase in sunlight following shade, and measured the time it took for the plant to regain its maximum photosynthesis efficiency and take full advantage of the extra energy from light. They found it took about 15 minutes for photosynthesis to reach maximum efficiency. […]

  • Whales turn tail at ocean mining noise
    on August 17, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    A new international study has measured the effect of loud sounds on migrating humpback whales as concern grows as oceans become noisier. Scientists have said one of the main sources of ocean noise was oil and gas exploration, due to geologists firing off loud acoustic air guns to probe the structure of the ocean floor in search of fossil fuels. […]

  • Heavily-used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children
    on August 16, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    New study finds that elemental sulfur is linked to reduced lung function, more asthma-related symptoms and higher asthma medication use in children living about a half-mile or less from farms that use the pesticide. […]

  • Boron nitride foam soaks up carbon dioxide
    on August 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Researchers have created a reusable hexagonal-boron nitride foam that soaks up more than three times its weight in carbon dioxide. […]

  • How future volcanic eruptions will impact Earth's ozone layer
    on August 16, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    The next major volcanic eruption could kick-start chemical reactions that would seriously damage the planet's already besieged ozone layer. The extent of damage to the ozone layer that results from a large, explosive eruption depends on complex atmospheric chemistry, including the levels of human-made emissions in the atmosphere. Using sophisticated chemical modeling, researchers explored what would happen to the ozone layer in response to large-scale volcanic eruptions over the remainder of this century and in several different greenhouse gas emission scenarios. […]

  • Mosses used to evaluate atmospheric conditions in urban areas
    on August 16, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Researchers have developed a method to evaluate atmospheric conditions using mosses (bryophytes) in urban areas, a development that could facilitate broader evaluations of atmospheric environments. […]

  • Climate change projected to significantly increase harmful algal blooms in US freshwaters
    on August 15, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Harmful algal blooms known to pose risks to human and environmental health in large freshwater reservoirs and lakes are projected to increase because of climate change. […]

  • Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact
    on August 14, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Exposure to fine particulate matter via air pollution, led to increases in stress hormones and, in a study of healthy college students in China. Negative effects of pollution exposure decreased after using indoor air purifiers over a nine-day period. […]

  • Probiotics help poplar trees clean up contaminated groundwater
    on August 14, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Researchers have conducted the first large-scale experiment on a Superfund site using poplar trees fortified with a probiotic -- or natural microbe -- to clean up groundwater contaminated with trichloroethylene, or TCE. […]

  • Ozone treaty taking a bite out of US greenhouse gas emissions
    on August 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    The Montreal Protocol, the international treaty adopted to restore Earth's protective ozone layer in 1989, has significantly reduced emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals from the United States. In a twist, a new study shows the 30-year old treaty has had a major side benefit of reducing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions from the US. […]

  • Urban floods intensifying, countryside drying up
    on August 14, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Drier soils and reduced water flow in rural areas -- but more intense rainfall that overwhelms infrastructure and causes flooding and stormwater overflow in urban centers. That's the finding of an exhaustive study of the world's river systems, based on data collected from more than 43,000 rainfall stations and 5,300 river monitoring sites across 160 countries. […]

  • 'Inefficient' sailing fleet keeps oyster fishery alive
    on August 14, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Oyster stocks in a Cornish fishery are sustained thanks to 'inefficient' traditional fishing methods, new research suggests. […]

  • Canary in a coal mine: Survey captures global picture of air pollution's effects on birds
    on August 11, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Writing Aug. 11 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Tracey Holloway, an expert on air quality, and her former graduate student Olivia Sanderfoot sort through nearly 70 years of the scientific literature to assess the state of knowledge of how air pollution directly affects the health, well-being, reproductive success and diversity of birds. […]

  • Crank the AC, cut in-car pollution
    on August 10, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    After conducting a new research approach using actual commutes, a group of engineers discovered a simple shift in driving habits can help to reduce exposure to pollutants while out on the road. […]

  • Climate change shifts timing of European floods
    on August 10, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    A linkage between climate change and floods has been identified using a river flow dataset of unparalleled scale and diversity. This is the first time this link has been demonstrated at a continental scale using observational data. […]

  • How urban seasnakes lost their stripes
    on August 10, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Researchers studying turtle-headed seasnakes living on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific noticed something unusual about the snakes' color patterns: seasnakes living in more pristine parts of the reef were decorated with black-and-white bands or blotches. Those in places with more human activity -- near the city or military activity -- were black. Those color differences are explained by differences in the snakes' exposure to pollution. […]

  • Efforts to reduce pollution from agriculture paying off slowly
    on August 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Efforts by farmers to reduce the amount of fertilizer that reaches drinking water sources can take years to have a positive impact, according to a new study. […]

  • Environmental policy, pollution and economic growth
    on August 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Air pollution policy reduces the extent to which population growth in metropolitan areas results in increased pollution emissions without disrupting the economic growth from this urbanization, new research shows. […]

  • A battery-inspired strategy for carbon fixation
    on August 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Scientists working toward the elusive lithium-air battery discovered an unexpected approach to capturing and storing carbon dioxide away from the atmosphere. Using a design intended for a lithium-CO2 battery, researchers have developed a way to isolate solid carbon dust from gaseous carbon dioxide, with the potential to also separate out oxygen gas through the same method. […]

  • Biochar shows benefits as manure lagoon cover
    on August 9, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few. New methods may reduce these negatives while potentially adding some positives: biochar covers. […]

  • Super-heatwaves of 55°C to emerge if global warming continues
    on August 9, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Heatwaves amplified by high humidity can reach above 40°C and may occur as often as every two years, leading to serious risks for human health. If global temperatures rise with 4°C, a new super heatwave of 55°C can hit regularly many parts of the world, including Europe, warn researchers. […]

  • Power-to-liquid: 200 liters of fuel from solar power and the air's carbon dioxide
    on August 8, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Production of fuels from regenerative electric power is a component of the energy turnaround. The first 200 l of synthetic fuel have now been produced from solar energy and the air's carbon dioxide under the SOLETAIR project. The mobile chemical pilot plant that can be used decentrally produces gasoline, diesel, and kerosene from regenerative hydrogen and carbon dioxide. […]

  • Not all glaciers in Antarctica have been affected by climate change
    on August 8, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    The effects of climate change, which are apparent in other parts of the Antarctic continent, are not yet observed for glaciers in the western Ross Sea coast, new research indicates. […]

  • Potentially harmful nanoparticles produced through burning coal
    on August 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Environmental scientists have discovered that the burning of coal produces incredibly small airborne particles of a highly unusual form of titanium oxide with the potential to be toxic to humans. […]

  • Laser mapping project shows effects of physical changes in Antarctica's Dry Valleys
    on August 8, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Researchers have publicly released high-resolution maps of Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys, a globally unique polar desert. […]

  • The good, the bad and the algae
    on August 7, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    A new study is testing whether one of California’s largest and most polluted lakes can transform into one of its most productive and profitable. Southern California’s 350-square-mile Salton Sea has well-documented problems related to elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural runoff. The research team intends to harness algae’s penchant for prolific growth to clean up these pollutants and stop harmful algae blooms while creating a renewable, domestic source of fuel. […]

  • Choice of cool roofing materials can potentially impact region's air pollution
    on August 7, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Widespread installation of certain 'cool roof' materials in the region could slightly increase ozone and fine particulate pollution levels, scientists suggest after a groundbreaking study. […]

  • Benefits of advanced wood-burning stoves greater than thought
    on August 7, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Advanced wood-burning stoves designed for use in the developing world can reduce air pollution more than anticipated, because gaseous emissions from traditional wood stoves form more particulate matter in the atmosphere than researchers previously thought. […]