Smog. The importance of accurate and timely data on air pollution - News

Smog. The importance of accurate and timely data on air pollution

Smog. The importance of accurate and timely data on air pollution

Posted on 2016-01-04 16:55 | Category: Air pollution, API

Word Smog (smoky mist) comes from the fusion of the English words «smoke» - smoke and «fog» - fog. Smog - one of the most common types of pollution that can be seen clearly. It is formed by the reaction of products of incomplete combustion of fossil fuel such as coal with water droplets in the fog. Usually among carbon contaminants are CO2, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide NO2 S02 and other elements, and their reaction with the water drops in the mist form corrosive acids. As a result of inhalation of smog there is a sensation of breathlessness and cramps in the throat, a drop of acid attacks the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract that can cause (or worsen), asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, as well as eye irritation and decreased immunity, or death. This is the smog in December 1952 in London that killed at various data from 4000 to 6000, which led to the emergence of the first laws aimed at preserving the environment.


With advances in technology, new types of pollution have appeared, both primary and secondary, and in today's big cities "in vogue" photochemical smog that gets its name from the fact that chemical reactions, coming from fuel combustion in the engine of a vehicle and leading to the formation of secondary pollutants. These reactions have the most effective flow in the sunlight. It is typical for big cities with busy traffic and was first recorded in Los Angeles (USA) during the Second World War.

The most characteristic feature of photochemical smog - the presence of ozone O3, which is formed during combustion, and is a secondary pollutant. Being a strong carcinogen, ozone has a negative impact not only on health, but also can destroy some materials, especially rubber.


To assess the level of pollution was introduced air quality index (Air Quality Index, AQI) showing the contents in the air of nitrogen dioxide NO2, sulfur dioxide SO2, carbon monoxide CO, and some others. But the distribution of contaminants in the air is highly dependent on weather conditions such as high temperature and no wind. On sunny days, smog becomes denser, sinks lower to the ground and can be kept there for several days. The winds increase the rate of dispersion and mixing with the air flow directed from the ground, take out pollution in the upper atmosphere. There, cases could appear far from the source of contamination, the thing is that the wind can carry air pollution over long distances.  


Practice has shown that the monitoring for 1-2 minutes few times a day is ineffective to determine the average values of the indices or variables, air quality, while this approach is totally unsuitable in areas where concentrations of pollutants subject to rapid change. Access to information on a number of controlled concentrations of pollutants and the statistical data is required in near real time.


Model OpenWeatherMap allows you to provide data on key indicators - CO2, O3, NO2 and SO2 for a specific location with high accuracy in a short period of time, and their joint analysis of the weather data will allow to properly assess the situation and facilitate the decision to adopt the necessary measures to eliminate the potential danger.

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