News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Air quality is better in ISIS controlled Iraq than Shiite controlled area. More unsettled UN IPCC science per published study. Syria and Iraq air has improved despite earlier settled science predictions. Scientists say it's a complex and unpredictable picture-BBC, Science Mag.

South of Baghdad, a mostly Shiite area, increase in pollutants continues, but northwest of Baghdad, where Islamic State is in charge, things are going in another direction.

8/21/15, "Middle East conflict drastically 'improves air quality'," BBC, Matt McGrath

"Political disturbance and armed conflict in the Middle East since 2010 have had the unintended consequence of making the air cleaner.

Researchers say that in countries like Syria and Iraq, levels of air pollutants have fallen dramatically.

The amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air over Damascus has fallen by up to 50% since start of the civil war. The authors believe their work has important lessons for projections of global emissions.

Since 2004, scientists have been able to monitor atmospheric pollutants with high levels of precision thanks to the deployment of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument onboard the Nasa Aura satellite.

This new study used data from the spacecraft to see how economic, political and military activity has impacted levels of pollutants in and around the Middle East over the past decade.

Looking at levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that are generated from the burning of fossil fuels especially in transport, the team found a complex and unpredictable picture.

In countries like Syria, where millions of people have attempted to flee the fighting since 2011, levels of nitrogen dioxide plummeted over Damascus and Aleppo.

But in nearby Lebanon, there was a "drastic" rise of up to 30% of the same pollutant, thanks to the influx of refugees. The scientists say that this was very unusual as economic growth in Lebanon declined significantly at the same time. 

"It's quite remarkable," lead author Dr Jos Lelieveld from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry told BBC News.

"You can see where the people from Syria are going; you can identify the camps in northern Jordan but they are also moving to cities like Tripoli and Beirut.

"The energy consumption has increased; the traffic, more cars, make up a large proportion of the increase," he said. In countries like Greece, global recession and new environmental laws have had a significant role. Similarly in Saudi Arabia and Israel.  

But in Iraq, the rise of so-called Islamic State can also be clearly seen in the air quality data.
"In Karbala, to the south of Baghdad, a mostly Shiite area, the increase in pollutants continues," said Dr Lelieveld.

"But if you look to the area northwest of Baghdad, where Islamic State is in charge, there you see that things are going in another direction - there are very specific stories in each country."

The researchers say that the varying impacts on air pollutants seen across the Middle East have lessons for global projections of emissions. 

The authors point to one climate change scenario that includes increases of NOx in the region every year between 2005 and 2030, which they say "deviates from the reality".

"For many countries for which we have little information, the emissions scenarios make very simple assumptions - these definitely do not work in the Middle East as they go in all directions," said Dr Lelieveld.

"For example, in Iran the energy consumption and CO2 have continued to grow but NOx and sulphur dioxide have declined. There isn't a general rule that you can apply in emissions scenarios."

The researchers say that it is difficult to use the technology to get a definitive picture. There may be less NOx in the air but people may have resorted to dirtier and cheaper fuels for heating

Other scientists welcomed the study, saying that it followed on from previous research carried out during the Iraq war. They say that it highlights the critical role of accurate satellite information. It also highlights the scale of destruction across the Middle East and the huge impact on people....

The research has been published in the journal, Science Advances."

Image caption: "Emissions of some air pollutants have decreased dramatically as conflict has spread in Syria." getty via BBC


8/21/15, "Abrupt recent trend changes in atmospheric nitrogen dioxide over the Middle East,", Jos Lelieveld1,2,3,*, Steffen Beirle1, Christoph Hörmann1, Georgiy Stenchikov4 and Thomas Wagner1 + Author Affiliations


"Nitrogen oxides, released from fossil fuel use and other combustion processes, affect air quality and climate. From the mid-1990s onward, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has been monitored from space, and since 2004 with relatively high spatial resolution by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument. Strong upward NO2 trends have been observed over South and East Asia and the Middle East, in particular over major cities. We show, however, that a combination of air quality control and political factors, including economical crisis and armed conflict, has drastically altered the emission landscape of nitrogen oxides in the Middle East. Large changes, including trend reversals, have occurred since about 2010 that could not have been predicted and therefore are at odds with emission scenarios used in projections of air pollution and climate change in the early 21st century."


"Discrepancies were found between NOx trends in emission inventories, used in chemistry transport models to calculate tropospheric O3, and observed O3 trends, because models tend to overestimate O3 mixing ratios (6). One of the possible causes is that the inventories are based on fuel type and energy consumption reports to estimate both CO2 and NOx sources, but that CO2-to-NOx emission ratios are not well characterized (7)."...


Evidently...relatively short-term changes cannot be captured by air pollution emission inventories and future projections, including the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (4) [see Emissions of atmospheric Compounds and Compilation of Ancillary Data (ECCAD) at]. For example, the RCP4.5 scenario assumes constant NOx emissions for the geographical region outlined by Fig. 1, whereas the RCP8.5 scenario assumes continual increases by 2%/year between 2005 and 2030, both deviating from reality.

Because ground-based air quality measurement networks have been established in only a few areas of the globe, atmospheric monitoring from space can help provide information to policy makers [*]. The present analysis shows that it is feasible to link trends of atmospheric parameters to societal change."...


* Comment: US "policy makers" don't need "help" directing climate expenditures. They'll give you taxpayer cash no matter what the "facts" are. They created your no-risk, cash in advance operation from nothing decades ago and aren't about to end it. Anyway, separate funds are always available from the Executive branch and 13 federal agencies via a 1990 mandate, a permanent needle in the vein of unsuspecting US taxpayers, put in place before most had ever heard of climate science, enabling the global ATM machine for so-called global climate science spending.


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