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Posts Tagged "air pollution"

Expeditions

Return to Nepal: Digging Sensors Out of Ice and Dirt

Final look at this glacial lake on Ngozumpa glacier, which I had been tracking since 2011 with cameras and instruments.

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a new series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, who chronicled an earlier expedition to Nepal in a series called, “Climbing Mount Everest,” which can be found by clicking here. Horodyskyj’s work focuses determining how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow [...]

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Expeditions

The Return to Nepal: In Search of Soot

Ulyana Horodyskyj drilling on the frozen surface of Spillway Lake, Ngozumpa glacier, Nepal. She is studying the thermal properties of the water, through temperature sensor buoys in the depths of the lake.

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a new series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, who chronicled an earlier expedition to Nepal in a series called, “Climbing Mount Everest,” which can be found by clicking here. Horodyskyj’s work focuses determining how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow [...]

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Expeditions

Climbing Mount Everest: Black Soot on White Snow

Smog in the air, even at 17,000 feet, near Mount Everest base camp.

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and final post in a series by geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj. She climbed several peaks in the Himalaya Mountains to try to determine how airborne particles such as dust and soot that settle on massive glaciers alter how snow and ice melt, which could affect climate change as well as [...]

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Expeditions

Climbing Mount Everest: Risking Life and Limb for Science

The author and Jake St. Pierre on the Himlung icefall. Steep slopes and warming snow make climbing slow and dangerous.

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth post in a series by Ulyana Horodyskyj, a geologist who is trying to determine how airborne particles such as soot that settle on massive glaciers affect how fast the ice melts. In mid-April she and her team of scientists, volunteers and Sherpas were nearly at base camp on Mount [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Philippines Cancels Planned Burn of Confiscated Elephant Tusks after Clean-Air Groups Object

elephant with tusks

This Philippine government this weekend cancelled plans to burn $10 million worth of seized elephant tusks after several clean-air groups cried foul. The Philippines isn’t the only country trying to destroy its ivory stockpiles. Gabon conducted a massive ivory burn last year—an act that  their government said sent a message to poachers in that country [...]

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Observations

World’s Deadliest Fuel Made Safe and Clean?

bituminous-coal

Coal kills. When it’s not horrific mining accidents like the one in Soma, Turkey, on May 13 that killed more than 300 miners, it’s the 13,000 Americans who die early each year because of air pollution from burning the dirtiest fossil fuel. Coal is a way of life, providing jobs and inexpensive energy wherever it [...]

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Observations

What Do China’s New Policies Mean for the Environment?

china-high-speed-train

BEIJING—A Chinese high speed train whispers into the station, before finally engaging the brakes and coming to a stop with a sound like the tinkling of breaking glass. Five years ago, such trains hardly existed. In the span of one Communist-style planning period, China has built a high-speed train network that now crosses the entire [...]

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Observations

Smog Blog: World-Class Pollution Brings Tehran to a Halt

Tehran, smog, Tehran smog

During the first weeks of 2013, Tehran was often blanketed in a stagnant, brown layer of smog so thick and obtrusive that it was difficult to make out the conspicuous mountain ranges that encircle the city. After trying to regulate the number of cars on the streets, a measure that failed to reduce the noxious [...]

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Observations

Soot May Help Shift Tropics North

tropics

Soot may be responsible for the tropics expanding north, according to an analysis involving multiple computer models of the climate. By absorbing sunlight and trapping extra heat in the atmosphere, the tiny, black particles may be helping the poleward march of tropical conditions. The research will be published in Nature on May 17. (Scientific American [...]

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Observations

Beyond the Light Switch: What to do about coal ash?

The aftermath of burning a mountain of coal isn’t pretty. It’s not just the ash itself; it’s also the toxic elements that have been purified by fire out of the "fossilized sunshine." Those toxic elements come along for the ride when the coal ash spills, like it did near Kingston, Tenn., on December 22, 2008. [...]

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Observations

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hits 40

Forty years ago today Republican president, Richard Nixon, created the Environmental Protection Agency. At the time the nation had no law mandating clean water, clean air or the safety of chemicals. Lead was still in all gasoline, and acid rain was poisoning the waterways downwind of the nation’s coal-burning power plants. Forty years later, we [...]

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Observations

What are contemporary warfare’s hidden assaults on public health?

DENVER—Few human undertakings have had such apparent and ceaseless negative impacts on human health and well-being as violent conflict. War might seem such an obvious assault on overall public health that it would hardly bear discussion at a scholarly meeting on that subject. But a slew of researchers are working around the globe to uncover [...]

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Plugged In

Does Uber Make Cities More Energy Efficient?

Morning traffic in Paris. Photo by Tali Trigg.

It seems you can’t read an article about new mobility or the sharing economy without stumbling across Uber; the mobility service that sprung up in 2009 to only five years later become valued at more than Avis, Hertz, or Sony. Yes, Sony. Two weeks ago, I found myself using the service for the first time, [...]

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Plugged In

India says “no” to coal plant after inadequate environmental impact assessment

delhi

A panel of judges has struck down the environmental clearance for a proposed 3.6 GW coal-fired power plant in Tamil Nadu, India. The decision by the National Green Tribunal responded to an appeal by local villagers who cited concerns about water and air pollution in this already polluted area. In their review, the judges found that the “casual approach” to [...]

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Plugged In

The Cyclic Nature of “Crazy Bad” Air Pollution and Fuel Transitions

Photo of Beijing Skyline (2005) by Bobak

  China has become an icon for global air quality discussions – with its infamously horrible airpocolypses leading to widely publicized health impacts on the local population including widespread headaches, respiratory distress, and anxiety. On January 14, 2014 one such event led to air quality that was so “crazy bad,” measurement tools housed at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing [...]

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Plugged In

Map Monday: 50+ Shades of Air Pollution

One-fourth of the world is breathing unsafe air. Courtesy of Hsu et al/The Atlantic

In today’s installment of Map Monday, I wanted to focus on air pollution as mapped by Hsu et al and The Atlantic. Go to this link to see the full interactive map, which details air pollution by country and city. Below, I have copied in a global snapshot with some perhaps unsurprising shades of pollution [...]

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Plugged In

Transportation changes quickly cleaned up the air – now what?

225160583_d91d8eef2b_b

In March, air pollution in northern France reached dangerous levels and resulted in a strong government response. Public transportation fees were removed and cars were partially banned from the roads. This month, as data are released by Airparif, one can see that this response led to a drop in Paris road traffic of 18% and 6-30% [...]

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Plugged In

Should public transportation be free in cities with bad air quality?

225160583_d91d8eef2b_b

This weekend, Parisians and those visiting the city will enjoy free public transportation as they move from Versailles to La Tour Eiffel. This initiative comes as much of Northern France experiences dangerously high levels of local air pollution, leaving local governments desperate to get cars off the road. According to air quality measurements across the [...]

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Plugged In

Guest Post: The Biggest (missed) Environmental News Story of 2013

800px-Beijing_traffic_jam

Beijing announcement illustrates the shortcomings of how we look at the future of the global transportation system By Tali Trigg On November 7th 2013, the Beijing city government announced sweeping changes to car ownership in the near future [1] that fundamentally shifted the future outlook for the city’s and perhaps the country’s transportation system. This [...]

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