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How Humans Affect the Atmosphere: Air Pollution and its Impacts. Weather & Atmosphere – Meeting the Benchmarks CCISD, Hancock, MI Feb 15, 2002 Richard E. Honrath Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering Michigan Technological University. The major air pollutants. Carbon monoxide (CO)

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how humans affect the atmosphere air pollution and its impacts
How Humans Affect the Atmosphere: Air Pollution and its Impacts

Weather & Atmosphere – Meeting the BenchmarksCCISD, Hancock, MIFeb 15, 2002Richard E. HonrathDept. of Civil & Environmental EngineeringMichigan Technological University

the major air pollutants
The major air pollutants

Carbon monoxide (CO)

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)

Ozone (O3)

Particulate matter (PM-10, PM-2.5)

Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

Lead (Pb)

Greenhouse gases (CO2 and others)

carbon monoxide
Carbon Monoxide
  • Impacts: Blood oxygen levels

Hb + O2 <-> HbO2 K1 = Equilibrium constant

Hb + CO <-> HbCO K2 = 210 x K1

  • Headaches, alertness, death
  • Sources: Vehicles (plus others)

Source: Ref. (1)

carbon monoxide4
Carbon Monoxide
  • CO levels are improving, but still a problem

in many colder urban areas.

Source: Ref. (1)

nitrogen oxides
Nitrogen Oxides
  • NOx = NO + NO2
  • Impacts: Respiratory irritant (NO2)

(but AQ standard seldom violated)

    • Leads to ozone formation
    • Leads to acidic deposition of HNO3
nitrogen oxides6
Nitrogen Oxides
  • NOx = NO + NO2
  • Impacts: Respiratory irritant (NO2)
    • Leads to ozone formation
    • Leads to acidic deposition of HNO3
  • Sources: High-temperature combustion

N2 + O2  2NO

Source: Ref. (1)

ozone
Ozone
  • Impacts:
    • Respiratory irritant
    • Plant damage (forest, crops) (FACE site)
    • Oxidizes C=C double bonds: rubber
  • Sources:
    • Produced in the atmosphere

NOx + VOCs + sunlight -> NOx + O3

ozone8
Ozone

A major urban and regional pollution problem

Source: Ref. (1)

particulate matter
Particulate Matter
  • Definitions:
    • PM10 = PM < 10 um
    • PM2.5 = PM < 2.5 um
  • Impacts:
    • Lung irritation
    • Visibility
particulate matter10
Particulate Matter
  • Impacts:
    • Lung irritation
    • Visibility
  • Sources: Depends on particle size

Source: Ref. (1)

particulate matter11
Particulate Matter

Impacts: Visibility at Shenandoah Nat’l Park

Source: Ref. (2)

sulfur dioxide
Sulfur Dioxide
  • Impacts:
    • Eye and lung irritation (but seldom > standard)
    • Acidic deposition of H2SO4.
    • Damage to limestone and concrete.
  • Sources: S in fuel is emitted as SO2

Source: Ref. (1)

sulfur dioxide13
Sulfur Dioxide

Impacts: Acidic deposition of H2SO4.

Pure water pH = 5.6

Source: Ref. (3)

slide14
Lead
  • Impacts: Brain and kidney damage.
  • Sources: Leaded gasoline was dominant,

but Pb is no longer in U.S. on-road gasoline

Source: Ref. (1)

slide15
Lead

Impacts: Brain and kidney damage.

Sources: Metals processing, battery mfr, etc

Source: Ref. (1)

greenhouse gases
Greenhouse Gases

Impacts: Global climate change

Gases:

Sources:

See : Ref. (4)

the greenhouse effect
The Greenhouse Effect

What determines the average temperature of the earth?

the greenhouse effect18
The Greenhouse Effect

What determines the average temperature of the earth?

1.

Source: Ref. (5)

the greenhouse effect19
The Greenhouse Effect

What determines the average temperature of the earth?

2.

the greenhouse effect20
The Greenhouse Effect

What determines the average temperature of the earth?

3.

the natural greenhouse effect
The Natural Greenhouse Effect
  • Average solar radiation in:

236 W per square m

the natural greenhouse effect22
The Natural Greenhouse Effect
  • Average solar radiation in:

236 W per square m

  • Without the atmosphere, temperature would be:

-2 F

the natural greenhouse effect23
The Natural Greenhouse Effect
  • Average solar radiation in:

236 W per square m

  • Without the atmosphere, temperature would be:

-2 F

  • Greenhouse effect of natural water and CO2:

148 W per square m

(1 lightbulb every 2 feet)

  • Result: Average temperature =

57 F

the human contribution
The Human Contribution

Source: Ref. (6)

the human contribution25
The Human Contribution
  • Total effect until now: about 2.3 W / m2

(1 light bulb every 15 feet)

  • Predicted effect by 2050: Up to 7 W / m2

(1 light bulb every 9 feet)

expected impacts more precip more energy in weather
Expected Impacts:More precip, more energy in weather
  • More extreme weather events are predicted
  • On average, more precipitation, but

region-by-region, some will be wetter, some

drier.

long term impacts models predict changes in climate
Long-term Impacts:Models predict changes in climate

Two climate models

predict Illinois climate

in 2030 and 2090.

Source: Ref. (7)

co2 emissions by nation
CO2 Emissions by Nation

Developing nations

will soon be the largest

CO2 producers, but

most CO2 in the

atmosphere today came

from to industrialized

nations

Source: Ref. (8)

co2 emissions by nation31

Emissions by Sector

CO2 Emissions by Nation

Easiest mitigation measure = energy efficiency

Household emissions

See : Ref. (4)

particulate activities
Particulate Activities
  • Light scattering
    • Particles most effectively scatter light

of wavelength ~ particle diameter.

    • Uncontrolled car exhaust scatters blue light.
    • Atmospheric gases also scatter, blue more than red.
    • Large concentrations of particle mixtures scatter all colors  white haze
haze in los angeles
Haze in Los Angeles

Source: Ref. (9)

particulate activities34

See Ref. (10)

  • Sky Blue, Sunset Red
    • Start with jar of clean water.
    • Demonstrate no scattering:
      • Shine light beam through – cannot see it from the sides, color at exit is white.
    • Add milk a little at a time
      • Observe effect on scattering: beam becomes visible, color at exit reddens, color from sides becomes bluish.
      • View an object through the jar:
        • Starts visible, becomes invisible: Haze.
Particulate Activities
particulate activities35

Sky Blue, Sunset Red

Key points:

    • Why is the sky blue?
    • Why is the sunset red?
    • Why does the sunset get redder when there are fires or pollution?
    • Why are far-away objects invisible in smoggy places?
Particulate Activities
particulate activities36

See Ref. (10)

  • Air Strips
    • Obtain samples of particles and observe using magnifying glasses or microscopes.
    • Discuss local particle sources.

Notes

- Will only be able to see larger particles, like plant materials, dusts, or major smokes

- Best to do during fall when more large particulates are in the air.

Particulate Activities
local issues
Local Issues
  • Vehicle emissions
    • Sources of CO, CO2, particulates, NOx, VOCs
    • Strategies for reducing emissions
      • Fuel economy (all, proportional to fuel use)
      • Catalytic converters and no exhaust system leaks (CO, NOx, particulates, VOCs – no effect on CO2)
local issues38

See Ref. (10)

Local Issues
  • Vehicle emissions
    • Activity: Let’s Sock Car Exhaust
    • Use tube socks to collect particles from vehicle exhaust.
    • Notes:
      • Connect when vehicle is cold, run 5 min, let cool 5 min, remove, turn inside out.
      • Fuel is incompletely burned, and catalytic converters do not function, during 1st 5 minutes with cold engine.
      • Observe the socks outside (fuel on them)
local issues39
Local Issues
  • Vehicle emissions
    • Activity: Let’s Sock Car Exhaust
    • Key points:
      • Emissions will relate directly to engine size (amount of fuel burned in 5 min).
      • Emissions will vary with age and maintenance.
      • Only particles are collected: CO, NOx, gaseous VOCs, CO2, water vapor are not.
local issues40
Local Issues

2. Snowmobiles and wood stoves

  • Snowmobiles: 2-cycle engines are light, but of the C burned,
    • ~1/3 is fully burned and emitted as CO2.
    • ~1/3 is emitted as CO.
    • ~1/3 is not burned at all and released as gasoline.
local issues41
Local Issues

2. Snowmobiles and wood stoves

  • Wood stoves:
    • Newer wood stoves have catalysts or secondary combustion;
    • those without emit more particles and VOCs
    • Can compare by viewing chimney exhaust (don’t be fooled by water fog)
    • Wood stoves can be a major source of indoor air pollution when smoke is pulled in from outdoors.
local issues42
Local Issues

3. Indoor air pollution

Key issues:

  • Radon
  • Molds
  • Particles and smokes
local issues43
Local Issues

4. Atmospheric Dispersion

  • Radiative cooling on clear nights -> cold ground under warmer air.
  • Air flow over Lake Superior during summer -> cold water under warmer air.
warm air over cold water
Warm Air over Cold Water

Source: Ref (11)

cold air over warm water
Cold Air over Warm Water

Source: Ref (11)

lake superior average temperatures
Lake SuperiorAverage Temperatures

Percent Ice-free

Source: Ref (12)

inversions over l a
Inversions over L.A.

Source: Ref. (9)

local issues50
Local Issues

5. Airborne pollutants and fishing advisories

  • PCBs: “PolyChlorinatedBiphenyls”
  • Chemically stable, thermally stable, high dielectric constants.
  • Used in transformers, as hydraulic fluids, …
slide51
PCBs
  • “PolyChlorinatedBiphenyls”
  • Used in transformers, as hydraulic fluids, …
  • Chemically stable, thermally stable, high dielectric constants.
  • Not broken down in the environment.
  • Accumulate in animal fats.
  • Cause birth defects.
  • Manufacture in U.S. banned in 1977.
pcbs in the environment
PCBs in the Environment

Source: Ref. (13)

pcbs in lake superior
PCBs in Lake Superior
  • The atmosphere is the main source.
  • The atmosphere is also a main sink.
impacts in the great lakes
Impacts in the Great Lakes
  • Wildlife effects (fish-eating birds):
    • crossed beaks,
    • embryo deaths,
  • Human effects (children of mothers who ate large amounts of Great Lakes fish):
    • behavioral and developmental defects
    • sperm counts
  • Fish advisories
stratospheric ozone some common questions
Stratospheric OzoneSome common questions

CFCs are heavier than air, so cannot reach the stratosphere.

The ozone hole is natural, and is caused by volcanoes and oceans.

Ozone depletion occurs only over Antarctica.

tropospheric ozone
Tropospheric Ozone

Chemistry in Los Angeles air

NOx + Hydrocarbons +sunlight =

Ozone (O3)

This photo shows haze – ozone is invisible but haze commonly occurs at the same time as high ozone levels.

roles of ozone in the lower atmosphere
Roles of Ozone in the Lower Atmosphere
  • Human health effects (urban and rural).
  • Causes forest and crop damage (regional).
sources
Sources
  • EPA, National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report, 1999. EPA 454/R-01-004, March 2001. http://www.epa.gov/oar/aqtrnd99/
  • U.S. National Park Service, March 2001, http://www2.nature.nps.gov/ard/vis/visimpair.html.
  • National Acid Deposition Program (NRSP-3)/National Trends Network, NADP Program Office, Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Dr., Champaign, IL, 61820, http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/isopleths/.
  • Data available in U.S. EPA,Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2000, USEPA 236-R-02-003, http://www.epa.gov/globalwarming/publications/emissions/us2002/index.html.
  • Our Changing Planet: The FY 1996 U.S. Global Change Research Program, A Report by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Research of the National Science and Technology Council, A Supplement to the President’s Fiscal Year 1996 Budget (see http://www.gcrio.org/online.shtml)
  • Ledley et al., Eos Transactions, 80, 39, p. 453, 1999.
  • Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, National Assessment Synthesis Team, US Global Change Research Program, 2001. (See Chapter 6 at http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/foundation.htm)
  • B. Hileman, Global Climate Dchange, C&E News, p. 11, Nov 17, 1997.
  • O. E. Allen, Atmosphere, Time-Life Books, 1983.
  • Environmental Resource Guide, Air Quality, Grades 6-8. Air and Waste Management Association (see http://www.awma.org/pubs/bookstore/).
  • W. A. Lyons, Turbulent diffusion and pollutant transport in shoreline environments, in Lectures on Air Pollution and Environmental Analyses, American Meteorological Society, pp. 136-208, Boston, Mass, 1975.
  • R. E. Honrath, C. I. Sweet, and C. J. Plouff, Environ. Sci. & Tech., 842-852, 1997.
  • F. Wania and D. Mackay, Environ. Sci. & Tech., 390A-396A, 1996.
  • EPA Ozone Science web site: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/science/
  • NOAA Climate Prediction Center, http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/sbuv2to/index.html.
  • British Antarctic Survey, http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/jds/ozone/ozpamw7.htm.
  • NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory; J. Geophys. Res., 101, D22, cover, 1996.
  • Our Changing Planet: The FY 1997 U.S. Global Change Research Program, (see http://www.gcrio.org/online.shtml)