Air Pollution

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An experiment with clean air

As we hear pressures to roll back some of the provisions that ensure clean air, largely in pursuit of unfettered economic activity, it is worth spending a little time reflecting on the benefits of clean air to human health. A long list of gases that exacerbate asthma, emphysema, and COP, such as ozone and nitric oxide, are known irritants and oxidizers of lung tissue. 

Killer air


Globally, air pollution kills 3.3 million people per year. And this number could double to 6.6 million people by 2050 if little is done to decrease the dangerous levels of tiny particles, toxins, and ozone in the air.

The problem with coal ash


Coal combustion in the U.S. generates around 130 million tons of coal ash each year, with power plants being the largest contributors. Bottom ash is collected from combustion chambers and fly ash is gathered from smokestacks and air pollution control devices.

Summertime ozone


Human activities are not direct sources of a lot of ozone, but ozone concentrations increase to markedly unhealthy levels in many areas during the summer. About 30 years ago, atmospheric chemists solved this mystery.

Related Projects

Effects of Atmospheric Deposition on Biodiversity

Air pollutants such as sulfur, nitrogen, ozone and mercury have serious direct and indirect effects on organisms in our region. A synthesis of research findings, written by the Cary Institute and the Nature Conservancy, reports that no major ecosystem types in the Northeast are free of air pollution effects.

Atmospheric Deposition to Heterogeneous Terrain: Scaling up to the Landcape

Building on earlier research, which focused on how landscape features affect atmospheric deposition, we have developed a new modeling approach for scaling point measurements of atmospheric deposition to whole landscapes in Acadia and Great Smoky National Parks.

Patterns of Atmospheric Deposition

Air pollutants are deposited not only in rain and snow, but also as gases, particles, and fog droplets. Measuring the deposition of all of these forms is difficult, especially in mountainous terrain, where deposition rates are strongly influenced by elevation and characteristics of the forest canopy. Knowing the rates and patterns of deposition is critical to evaluating ecosystem response to the pollutants

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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