Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Posts Tagged ‘air pollutants’

Beijing Entombed in Smog

Posted by feww on December 5, 2011

Hundreds of flights canceled or delayed at Beijing Capital International Airport, as hazardous smog buries Beijing

Thick fog worsened by air pollution has again buried Beijing forcing  the closure of dozens of highways and cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Disaster Calendar 2011 – December 5

[December 5, 2011]  Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,563 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History

  • Beijing, China. Thick fog worsened by air pollution has again entombed  Beijing forcing the closure of dozens of highways and cancellation of hundreds of flights.
    • “As of 2 p.m. Monday, 207 inbound and outbound flights were canceled at Beijing Capital International Airport, while 126 were delayed for at least one hour,” a report said.
    • “Readings by the U.S. Embassy, which measures inhalable particles of 2.5 microns, have described the pollution for days as ‘hazardous’,” according to Reuters.
    • “On Sunday night, the U.S. Embassy’s index topped its ceiling of 500, and it was 356 on Monday afternoon, a reading that was still considered ‘dangerous’.”
    • According to the municipal environmental monitoring center, Beijing’s air pollution index (API) was between 150 and 170 on Monday, a level regarded as ‘moderate’ by Chinese standards, Xinhua reported.
    • Highways in the provinces of Shandong and Hebei, and Tianjin municipality, have also been closed due to poor visibility, the report said.


Lianhua Bridge in downtown Beijing, China, [14:00? ] Dec. 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Fu Chunrong). More photos …

    • China is World No. 1 CO2 Polluter; the US follows closely. [See Report]
    • China’s Air Pollution Deadliest in World. [See Report ]
    • Pollution kills 750,000 [2.5million] people in China every year. [See Report]
    • According to the World bank statistics, China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities on earth!

Other Global Incidents

  • Peru. The Peruvian President, a former army officer, has declared a state of emergency following mass rallies against a major mining project in Cajamarca region, northern Peru.
    • The protests, which began 11 days ago, have led to violent clashes between police and demonstrators, leaving dozens of people injured.
    • The project plans to divert water from four lakes high in the Andes to reservoirs used for gold-mining .
    • The local peasants and local officials in Cajamarca oppose the project due to water shortages in the region, as well as the fear of pollution associated with mining gold.
    • A drought since late summer has affected the region (population: ~ quarter of a million), which is Peru’s main dairy and livestock hub, forcing water rationing since August.
    • The Conga gold mine project, worth 4.8 billion dollars, is operated by the US-based Newmont Mining.
    • The mine sits more than 4,200 meters high in the Andes, about 1,000km north of the capital Lima.

Related Links

Posted in global disasters | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who’s Afraid of Wildfires

Posted by feww on June 9, 2011

Smoke from wildfires burning in the US can severely impact human health and ecosystems

Wildfire smoke consists of a nasty mixture of air pollutants including  carbon monoxide (CO),  nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10). 

Smoke composition depends on the fuel type and moisture content, the fire temperature, wind conditions and other factors. Different types of wood and vegetation produce different compounds when burned because they have varying amounts cellulose, lignin, tannins and other polyphenols, fats, resins, waxes, oils, starches and to a lesser extent the carcinogen benzene.

Particulate matter is the major pollutant of concern because they can affect the lungs and heart. Particle pollution includes PM10 (diameters of 2.5 to 10 µm, or micrometers)  and PM2.5 (diameters of 2.5 µm or smaller).
NOTE:  The diameter of human hair varies from 20 to 180 µm.

About 40 million people in the US suffer from chronic lung diseases including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These patients can easily be affected by lower levels of pollutants that normally do not harm healthier people.

Wildfires: Future Trend

FIRE-EARTH would only assign a certain probability to a catastrophic volcanic explosion at, say, Yellowstone during the next 5 years (subject of a future discussion), but can forecast with near certainty large increases in the size and intensity of wildfires throughout the Americas, while the ailing forests last.

Air Quality Index (Combine Ozone and PM2.5) – AirNow



Historically, the AQI value of 100 is set at the level of the short-term standard for a pollutant and the AQI value of 50 at the level of the annual standard, if there is one, or at one-half the level of the short-term standard if there is not. The upper bound index value of 500 corresponds to the Significant Harm Level (SHL), established in section 51.16 of the CFR under the Prevention of Air Pollution Emergency Episodes program. The SHL is set at a level that represents imminent and substantial endangerment to public health. Source: EPA- Revising the Air Quality Index and Setting a Significant Harm Level for PM2.5 – February 12, 2007; URL http://www.epa.gov/airnow/aqi_issue_paper_020707.pdf Click to enlarge

Air Quality Index Hourly Ozone 

Smoke Detection/Forecasts

More information about wildfires and smoke hazards available at

National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter Final Rule (October 17, 2006):
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/pdf/06-8477.pdf
Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter: OAQPS Staff Paper (Dec 05):
http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/pm/data/pmstaffpaper_20051221.pdf
Particle Pollution and Your Health:
http://www.epa.gov/airnow//particle/pm-color.pdf
Air Quality Index Reporting Proposed Rule (December 9, 1998):
http://epa.gov/airnow/health/aqi_proposal_1998.pdf
Air Quality Index Reporting Final Rule (August 4, 1999):

http://www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/t1/fr_notices/airqual.pdf

Environmental Protection Agency

Related Links

Posted in air quality | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

World Without Superpowers a Better Place?

Posted by feww on February 22, 2011

Haze Over ‘Unterworld’

What is it the planet has done to deserve this?

  • China is World No. 1 CO2 Polluter; the US follows closely. Report
  • China’s Air Pollution Deadliest in World, Report Says.
  • Pollution kills 750,000 [2.5million] people in China every year. Report
  • According to the World bank statistics, China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities on earth!


Thick smog covered the North China Plain on February 20, 2011. “The featureless gray-brown haze is so thick that the ground is not visible in parts of this photo-like image taken at 11:35 a.m. by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. At that time, a weather station at Beijing’s airport reported visibility of 1.9 miles (3.1 kilometers). Visibility dropped as low as 1.1 miles (1.8 km) later in the afternoon.” Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge. Download larger image (2 MB, JPEG)

Haze over eastern China


Haze shrouded eastern China in mid-February 2011.
MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this photo-like image on February 17, 2011. Source: NASA-EO. Click image to enlarge. Download larger image (4 MB, JPEG)

Previous images:

Posted in China Air Pollution, china coal consumption, haze over china | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HK Air Pollution = Lower Visibility + Higher Mortality

Posted by feww on January 19, 2011

Poor Air Lowers Visibility in Hong Kong, Raises Death Rates : Report

Visibility in Hong Kong continues to deteriorate due to air pollution

“Visibility in Hong Kong has deteriorated so sharply over the last 50 years because of air pollution that variations in levels can even be used to predict mortality rates, health experts warned Wednesday.” Source

Report Highlights:

  • Current Average Visibility in Hong Kong: 12.6km (7.8 miles)
  • Visibility in other polluted population centers (Paris, Berlin, Auckland and Vancouver) : 20 to 25km
  • Number of smoggy days when visibility falls below 8 km: 54 days in 2007 (up from 6.6 days in 1968)
  • HK air has 7 times more particulate than even the polluted Auckland and Vancouver (80 µgm-³ —micrograms per cubic meter of  air—in HK compared to 24 in Auckland and 20 in Vancouver)
  • Each 6.5km reduction in visibility corresponds to 1.13% rise in the number of non-accidental deaths
  • An additional 1,200 deaths per year have occurred between 2007 and 2010

“Loss of visibility is a direct measure of serious harm to health. Loss of visibility kills people,” said Anthony Hedley, Honorary Professor at the School of Public Health. Source

“Air pollutants increase the stickiness of elements in the blood … With increased stickiness, blood cells stick together, they form a clot. If you form a clot, you may obstruct a vessel and if the vessel is in the heart or the head, you get a heart attack or a stroke,” Hedley said.

The true non-accidental death rates for Hong Kong may be even higher than those stated in the report, FIRE-Earth contends. According to one report:

  • Studies in Greater Vancouver have found that more than 2700 deaths and 33,000 emergency room visits could be avoided with a 25% reduction in particulate matter
  • Air pollution with particulate matter (PM) claims an average of 8.6 months from the life of every person in the European Union (EU)
  • Exposure to ground-level ozone for even short periods at relatively low concentrations has been found to significantly reduce lung function in healthy people during periods of exercise.  Source
  • Particulate air pollution causes 455,000 premature deaths in the EU each year, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) says. Source

Related Links:

Other Related Links:

Posted in air quality, Hong Kong visibility, nitrogen dioxide, particulates | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

China haze, temperature inversion, poor air quality

Posted by feww on January 20, 2010

Beijing Shrouded in Brown Haze

Coal-fired Power Plants and Essential Clean Air are Diametrically Opposite to Each Other


Haze blanketed Beijing, China, on January 18, 2010, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image. The entirely image is brown, as if covered by a thin film. The image also hints at a contributing factor to the poor air quality: a temperature inversion, contributing to the buildup of pollutants. NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek. Edited by FEWW


(MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, January 18, 2010. The gray-brown haze extends from Beijing to the South China Sea from north to south and from Korea to central China from east to west (shown in the large image). This image shows the densely populated and industrialized North China Plain between Beijing and the Yangtze River, where the haze is so dense that it completely obscures the ground. NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek. Edited by FEWW

Posted in China weather, MODIS, temperature inversion, Terra satellite | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 392 other followers