Pollution in the Pacific tied to Africa and Asia
Burning down forests in Africa and South-East Asia causes ozone pollution in the air as far as the western Pacific Ocean, researchers say, calling for revision of global climate models to reflect their findings.
In a paper published in Nature Communications last week (13 January), the scientists say their data contradicts earlier theories on the origins of ozone-rich air parcels above the tropical western Pacific, which were thought to descend naturally from a higher atmospheric layer.
Ozone, a greenhouse gas, occurs naturally in the atmosphere. But it is also created from the reactions of pollutants produced by combustion engines and burning trees to clear land for agriculture.
Flying in two research planes at two different heights, the scientists analysed the air composition over Guam, the largest island of Micronesia, in the western Pacific.
Image shows Ozone-polluted air paths in red and regions with active fires in green. Credit: Daniel Anderson
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