Arctic research could solve southern smog


IQALUIT — A chemical reaction that takes place every spring in the High Arctic as the sun rises above the horizon may point the way to reducing air pollution, reported a recent issue of the journal Science.

Last spring an international group of scientists went to Alert to study the chemical reactions that occur when the sun rises in March. As the sun strikes the sea ice, ground-level ozone vanishes as chemicals such as bromine are released from the surface.

Scientists have determined bromine and bromine-chloride appear to eat up ozone.

And they’ve noted the same phenomenon in northern Norway and Alaska.

High ozone levels, produced by vehicle emissions, may eventually blanket the Northern Hemisphere, causing levels of respiratory disease to increase and damaging crops and vegetation. In its recent report, the United Nations Panel on Climate Change said this ozone-heavy smog could become a hazard “on a hemispheric scale.”

The preliminary results from last year’s study in Alert show releasing bromine and chlorine in the lower, more industrial latitudes could lower levels of human-produced ozone.

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