Air Pollution Near Equator Has More Devastating Impact On Global Ozone Than Other Regions

Posted: Nov 8 2016, 8:55am CST | by , Updated: Nov 8 2016, 9:01am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Air Pollution Near Equator has More Devastating Impact on Global Ozone Than Other Regions, Study Finds
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New study reveals that countries near the equator contribute more to global ozone levels than other regions

Air pollution is worsening across the globe from poor, low income countries to large urban areas but a new research has added a new dimension to the entire issue. According to the research, countries close to the equator are doing more damage to the air quality than those in polar regions and having a significant impact on global ozone.

Ozone is a gas that occurs in two layers of atmosphere. It’s good when it is in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and protects us from the harmful ultraviolent rays of the sun but at ground levels, ozone is a major air pollutant. Ozone can damage lungs and worsens respiratory problems when inhaled. 

"Emissions are growing in places where there is a much greater effect on the formation of ozone,” said lead researcher Jason West from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “A ton of emissions in a region close to the equator, where there is a lot of sunlight and intense heat, produces more ozone than a ton of emissions in a region farther from it.”

Ozone reacts under light. So, countries near equator which experience more sunlight are naturally producing more ozone worldwide than colder regions despite releasing fewer emissions. 

To drive home the point, researchers say that China produced more emissions than India and Southeast Asia from 1980 to 2010 but India and other countries of the region have apparently contributed more to the global ozone increase due to the proximity to the equator. The reason is that ozone is not a pollutant that is emitted in the air. Instead, it is formed when interacts with nitrogen oxide in intense sunlight.

To confirm their analysis, researchers have used a European dataset of ozone observation and it also suggested that ozone increased more over Asia during the past three decades.

“We wanted to ask the question how much of that change that's happened over the last three decades is due to the change in location of emissions versus the increase in total emissions globally.”West told CBC News.

“The findings were surprising. We thought that location was going to be important factor contributing to total ozone levels worldwide. Our findings suggest that where the world emits is more important than how much it emits.”

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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