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Dust and air pollution from the US reach Europe

Dust and air pollution from the US reach Europe


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The statement emerges from a work on theair pollutants that are detected in the environment of theTeide whenCanary Islands It is not under the influence of Saharan dust, whose entry from the east is usually concentrated between July and August.

The study has been carried out by researchers from the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), the Universidad erde La Laguna (Tenerife) and the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (Idaea-CSIC) of Barcelona and has been published in the latest issue from the journal "Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics".

The authors of the article recall that, once it has been demonstrated that the carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3) generated by forest fires and urban pollution in the United States and Canada cross the Atlantic pushed by winds from the west, to the At the moment, little had been studied whether suspended particles make the same journey through the atmosphere.

The statement stems from a study on atmospheric pollutants that are detected in the surroundings of Teide when the Canary Islands are not under the influence of Saharan dust, whose entry from the east is usually concentrated between July and August. The study was carried out by researchers from the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), the University of La Laguna (Tenerife) and the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (Idaea-CSIC) of Barcelona and has been published in the latest issue from the journal "Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics". The authors of the article recall that, once it has been demonstrated that the carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3) generated by forest fires and urban pollution in the United States and Canada cross the Atlantic pushed by winds from the west, to the At the moment, little had been studied whether suspended particles make the same journey through the atmosphere.

Five years of sample collection

In their case, they have analyzed particles with a diameter of less than 10 and 2.5 microns (PM 10 and PM 2.5) that have been collected over five years in the instruments of the Teide meteorological observatory, in Izaña (Tenerife), a An enclave located at almost 2,400 meters of altitude that receives winds from the west for much of the year.

Those responsible for this work, whose first signatory is María Isabel García, a researcher at Aemet and the University of La Laguna, have even determined the specific regions of the US from where the suspended particles that pass through the atmosphere to Europe come from, depending on of the prevailing wind regimes in North America during each season of the year.

In winter, the westerly winds that cross over Mount Teide come from the southeastern US states; in spring, from the central regions of the country, and in summer, from eastern Canada.

The observation carried out in Izaña from February 2008 to August 2013 has determined that 58% of the particles that reach Tenerife with the winds from North America are dust (2.8 micrograms per m3), 24% organic matter (1 , 23 micrograms / m3), 9% sulfates of non-marine origin (0.47 micrograms / m3) and 2% ammonia (0.1 micrograms / m3).

The wind also carries elemental carbon emitted by cars or power plants that burn fossil fuels to Tenerife, but in smaller quantities than the previous ones.

The months in which the Teide observatory receives more carbon from the United States (0.03 micrograms / m3) are distributed from May to September, coinciding with the period in which the west winds cross highly urban and industrialized states, such as Chicago. , Detroit, New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York.

Soil use particles

However, the authors emphasize that their results reveal that “a significant part of organic aerosols could be related to sources other than combustion and that dust arriving from North America could be attributed to activities related to land use”, in particular, to the transformation of natural areas into large fields of cultivation and pasture for livestock.

Therefore, they emphasize, the future of the particles that North America emits into the atmosphere “will be influenced not only by the policies applied to industrial and urban areas, but also by the use of soils that can potentially generate dust, especially those destined for agriculture and livestock ”.
And these dust emissions should be taken into account in the regulations on air quality and climate change mitigation.“Conclude María Isabel García, Sergio Rodríguez and Andrés Alastuey.

EFE Green


Video: Air pollution in Oxford Street highest in Europe. The Economist (May 2022).


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