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Analyzing roadside dust to identify potential health concerns

Everyone knows that cars contribute to air pollution. And when most people consider the source, exhaust is usually what comes to mind.

However, new research led by the University of Pennsylvania's Reto Gieré, working with collaborators across the world, is helping to illuminate another significant culprit when it comes to traffic-related air pollution: Tiny bits of tires, brake pads, and road materials that become suspended in the air when vehicles pass over.

"More and more I've noticed that we don't know enough about what is on our roads," says Gieré, professor and chair of Penn's Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts and Sciences. "If you have lots of traffic, cars, and trucks driving by, they re-suspend the dust on the roads into the atmosphere, and then it becomes breathable. To understand the potential health implications of these dust particles, it's really important to understand what's on the road."

Posted: 2018-09-12
 

Nearly two million acres on fire in the United States

The West Coast of the United States is shrouded in smoke from the 110 large fires (this does not include smaller fires within each complex of fires) that have erupted across the region during this fire season.

Over 1.9 million acres are or have been ablaze. Six new large fires were reported in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon over the weekend and eight large fires have been contained including the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park in California.

The weather concerns in the area include warmer than average temperatures that will continue in the west with diurnal winds and marginal overnight humidity recoveries. Isolated storms will be ……

Posted: 2018-09-12
 

Ocean's heat cycle shows that atmospheric carbon may be headed elsewhere

As humans continue to pump the atmosphere with carbon, it's crucial for scientists to understand how and where the planet absorbs and naturally emits carbon.

A recent study in the journal Nature Geosciences examined the  and suggests that existing studies may have misgauged how carbon is distributed around the world, particularly between the northern and southern hemispheres. The results could change projections of how, when and where the currently massive levels of atmospheric carbon will result in environmental changes such as ocean acidification.

By reexamining ocean circulations and considering the carbon-moving power of rivers, the study's authors suggest that as much as 40 percent of the world's atmospheric carbon absorbed by land needs to be reallocated from existing estimates. In particular, the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica and forests in the northern —while still substantial absorbers or "sinks" of carbon —may not take up as much as scientists have figured.

"The carbon story we got is more consistent with what people have observed on the ground," said first author Laure Resplandy, an assistant professor of geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-06-ocean-atmospheric-carbon.html#jCp
Posted: 2018-09-12
 
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