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Smog-Forming Soils

Typography

A previously unrecognized source of nitrogen oxide is contributing up to about 40 percent of the NOx emissions in California, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis. The study traces the emissions to fertilized soils in the Central Valley region.

In the study, published Jan. 31 in the journal Science Advances, the authors compared computer models with estimates collected from scientific flights over the San Joaquin Valley. Both the model and flight data suggested that between 25 and 41 percent of NOx emissions comes from soils with heavy nitrogen fertilizer applications. 

Rural smog source

Smog-forming nitrogen oxides, or NOx, are a family of air-polluting chemical compounds. They are central to the formation of ground-level ozone and contribute to adverse health effects, such as heart disease, asthma and other respiratory issues. NOx is a primary component of air pollution, which the World Health Organization estimates causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide.

Read more at University of California - Davis

Image: Maya Almaraz, a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis and the study's lead author, samples soils for NOx emissions in Palm Springs in Jan. 2018. (Credit: Maya Almaraz/UC Davis)