Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

A single source reference on tropical weather predictions. With a traditional focus on the upper Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast we've maintained links to track all Atlantic Basin, Caribbean and eastern Pacific storm systems. We are now expanding our view to tropical storms throughout the world intending to be a comprehensive global storm tracking resource.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The ocean contributes to air pollution

This is an interesting piece of information. From CHExpress a Chemical Engineering news and bulletin board resource.

Apparently the sea salt from the ocean spray from the Gulf of Mexico reacts with nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere which form ozone. The contribution of the sea salts is that the NOx does not drop out of the atmosphere at night but apparently, instead, remains viable for further reaction and ozone production the following day.

If this is happening in Houston, it is certain to be occurring in New York, LA and other coastal cities as well and may help to explain some of the issues that coastal cities have in fighting air pollution.

(OK let me be perfectly clear to all of the cynics ... I am NOT saying that the ocean causes pollution.. please read the article and pay attention to the science discussed.)

Air pollution

The dirty air in Houston, Texas has often been attributed to cars, trucks, ships and oil refineries. Now, it is believed that sea salt is a part of the equation because of an intense chemical interaction of sea salt, sunlight and polluted air. Sea salts, by contributing chlorine to the atmosphere, influence ozone formation, but could be vastly underestimated.

Ozone generally is formed during the daytime when nitrogen oxides react with other chemicals in the air. However, after dark, without sunlight to stimulate the production of ozone, the nitrogen oxide compounds left over generally fall out of the atmosphere. It is believed that the addition of aerosolized sea salts in the air binds up the nitrogen oxide, keeping them afloat and preserving them for the next day’s sunshine.

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