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Posts Tagged "air pollution"

Expeditions

Return to Nepal: Snow Sampling

Snow sampling along an unclimbed glacier near to Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world.

Editor’s Note: This is the third and final 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 [...]

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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

Indian Railways and Military Go Solar

Sunrise in Tamil Nadu, India. Image courtesy: SR Sasikumar.

There’s been no shortage recently of big companies going big on solar, nor of middlemen trying to pave the way for bulk buying of solar power, but when the beast that is national procurement gets involved, the ante is upped. Entering this mix: India. While Indian solar potential has to date been largely untapped, there [...]

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Plugged In

In Los Angeles, Cleaner Air Is Helping Children Breathe Easier

PollutionLungHealth2-768x600

Children’s lungs are growing substantially stronger as air pollution in Southern California decreases. The Los Angeles area had struggled with air pollution for decades. But, according to new research published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, recent local air quality improvements appear to have led to a positive shift in children’s respiratory health. All [...]

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Plugged In

Can Chinese Cities Turn Around Pollution in Time?

One of the few transit-oriented development projects in Shanghai. Photo by Tali Trigg.

China became a mostly urban country in 2011, the service sector became the biggest in 2013, and in 2015 Chinese cities will try to reverse negative trends of sprawl and pollution. However, will it work, and by when? The country is striving for its cities to become livable hubs to attract not just Chinese workers, [...]

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Plugged In

With Cuban Détente, What Future for its Classic Cars?

Old classics ply the roads of Cuba. Image courtesy: mitsubis.

I can’t seem to go a day without hearing someone say, “Get to Cuba before all the Americans get there.” What exactly is it that Americans will change once they get to Cuba? Or is just that there will be so many more tourists? Either way, a lot will likely change, from big things like [...]

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Plugged In

New Mobility Startups Give Uber a Run for its Money

While terms like “smart grid” and “smart economy” are hard to peg down, we can at least say that for “smart mobility” we’re starting to see some of the bluster turning into reality. Uber gets a lot of attention in this space, as does its direct competitors Lyft, Sidecar, and Hailo to mention but a [...]

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Plugged In

Renewable Energy Shines in 2014

Offshore wind farm outside Copenhagen. Image credit: http://www.freeimages.com/profile/berent

Looking back at 2014 through the prism of renewable energy, it’s hard not to get bombastic. So many records were broken, corners turned, and with costs declining, it’s hard not to wonder if 2015 will see renewable energy become nothing more than a fully competitive energy source, capturing more and more market share. But first, [...]

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Plugged In

What is the World’s Busiest Airport?

Global map of flight patterns, showing a heavy concentration in the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan. Image credit: Jpatokal

Is it Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, or Dubai International? Both apparently. But it depends on the metric. If you go by number of flights, then O’Hare is the world’s busiest airport (881,933 flights in 2014), dethroning Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (868,359) after 10 years at the top – by this way of measuring. However, if [...]

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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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